It is crystal clear that North East India has a huge potential of hydro power resources in the country. But a negligible amount of hydro power has been harnessed by different power generating agencies and government so far. Until and unless we tap these unexploited water resources, it will be a huge amount of economic loss for the region. Following suggestions are presented to exploit the unexploited hydro power resources of the region:
* Private power companies’ participation with respective states for joint development of hydro power generation must be encouraged in North Eastern Region. It will make possible to harness the unexploited hydro power potential of the region at maximum extent directly and boost up the socioeconomic condition of this backward region indirectly.
* Reorganisation and strengthening more on the existing hydro power generating public sector enterprises of the region such as NEEPCO, NHPC and WAPCOS is highly needed. Their age old work culture and technology should be changed with highly sophisticated technology.
* North Eastern state governments should take part in equity participation in the public sector power companies in lieu of their share of free power. This will put more concern on the development of already exploited and unexploited power resources of the region.
*Investment by other power deficit states to the power potential states or forming a joint venture to tap the unexploited resources is highly needed. In addition Foreign Direct Investment on Hydro Power sector must be encouraged by the government with special provision to North east India.
*A congenial atmosphere, cooperation from the people, NGOs, funding agencies and environmental clearance agencies are other important areas to be considered before construction of any major hydro power site. This will minimise the conflict between government and people, cost escalation and time overrun for completion of project.
*Power lost in transmission and distribution should be checked with an effective and efficient system. This will not only save the power loss in transmission and distribution, but also increase the revenue collection through power of the region. When the distance between demand area and supply area is minimized, only then transmission loss can be less.
*Small and micro hydro power project should also be encouraged to harness the small hydro power potential of the region having a total capacity of 1,845.72 MW. This will enable to harness the potential power in low cost, less effect on environment with shorter gestation period.
*To check the power theft in the region, the Energy Police Stations (EPS) must be set up in all the districts covering all the states of the region like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra and very recently in Odisha as per the provisions of Electricity Act 2003. This will not only enable to check the power theft but also to increase the revenue from power and also minimise the power tariff for the mass.
*To minimise the power consumption on one side and generate surplus of the power, pre-paid power system should be introduced in all the states and union territories of the country like Manipur which has proved to be a very successful project.
*Before construction of any mega dams proper investigation is very much needed through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). For a proper EIA report, a multidisciplinary (joint task force of social scientist, engineer, environmentalist) task force is needed to assess the socioenvironmental challenges associated with the proposed projects.
*As we all are aware Northeast India lies in the highly seismic zone. Keeping this in view while constructing the dams we should avoid the vulnerable areas and weak lithologic character. Instead of big dams we can construct medium and small dams in consideration with the ground reality of location.
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