CEA finally gets moving on Dikhu Hydro Project
DIMAPUR, JANUARY 28
THE Detailed Project Report of the long-drawn Dikhu Hydro Electrical Power Project is finally being examined by the Central Electrical Authority (CEA), five years since the Government of Nagaland and a private energy builder entered into an agreement in early 2009 to build the 186 megawatts power station.
The ambitious electrical project covers at least 18 villages spread across Longleng, Mon and Mokokchung districts. In terms of magnitude and capability, the Dikhu project was touted to be the “second Doyang”, a sobriquet to the Doyang Hydro Electric Station under Wokha. Till 2010, the DPR of the Dikhu project was believed to have been languishing in red tape, waiting for the CEA’s attention. Its affairs had practically gone silent in the public domain. That the DPR is now under examination of the CEA is confirmed by minutes of a meeting the Standing Committee on Energy (2013-2014) held on December 13, 2013.
In October, 2013, development scanner Projects Monitor had reported that “files” related to 17 hydro projects in the country may soon be finding their way to the CEA’s table after years of languishing. It was reported then, that out of the 17 power projects, two of them namely Siyom and Kalai-II, in Arunachal Pradesh, would be scrutinized “immediately” after which Dikhu Hydro project in Nagaland would be reviewed by the end of 2013.
It is now confirmed by the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s circular that Dikhu project is currently being examined by the CEA. If the Rs 1,249 crore (on completion) DPR is approved, Nagaland may well be on way to some semblance of power self-sufficiency.
According to the committee’s report to the Parliament, the project is under examination and initial scrutiny has been complete. “All aspects cleared except GSI, CSMRS, cost of civil works and phasing,” the committee’s paper said. The scheme is under examination but yet to complete the scrutiny of other agencies such as the Geological Survey of India though, the document suggested.
There were speculations in the recent years that the long-pending project DPR may have been shelved already. A source in the state’s Power administration said on Monday, January 27, that the project was still ‘ongoing’ and ‘has not been rejected’, but refused to divulge further details. He requested anonymity for reasons that he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
The Dikhu project is “sensitive” and has seen its share of controversy revolving around economic concerns and rural ambitions. The Nagaland Power department is not willing to ‘repeat the mistake it made with the Doyang Hydro Electric Project – the entire plant was taken over by the central government while Nagaland receives only a mere 12% in royalty. Out of the 75 megawatt (MW) of electricity generated in the DHEP, Nagaland receives only 7 MW. Likewise, in 2011 and 2012, a number of affected villages strongly protested the Dikhu proposal fearing loss of lands and large scale displacement.
Private energy player Manu Energy Systems is undertaking the power project. The project will encompass 18 villages through Longleng district (Bura Namsang, Tamlu, Kanching, Tangha, Yongyah, Yongshei, Nian, Yachem, and Yongam) to Mon district (Wanching, Chingphoi, Chinglong, Chingtang, Aopao, and Totok Chingha) to Mokokchung district (Changtongya old, Yaongyimsen, and Merangkong). Once approved for construction, the company envisages that the project shall have to be completed in five years.