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‘World’s biggest’ claim of new Indian hydro proposal

India’s Power Minister, PR Kumaramangalam, has stated that the ‘world’s biggest hydro power project in a single area’, will be built in India’s hydro-rich northeastern region.

The 21,000MW Subansiri–Dihang hydro project will be located on the Brahmaputra river. It will have three units totalling 7600MW at Subansiri and three more totalling 13,400MW at Dihang. Both are located in Arunachal Pradesh State.

According to Kumara-mangalam, survey work for the project has already begun. Further details including the funding of the project, estimated to cost Rs1000B (US$23B), are still to be determined. Two Indian financial institutions, the Industrial Development Bank of India and the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation, have been asked to suggest modes of financing. Kumaramangalam hopes that generation from the project will start by 2008, however the entity which is to take up this giant project has still to be decided.

In the meantime, the long-delayed Koel-Karo project in India’s Bihar State may be speeded up, thanks to public assurance from India’s Prime Minister, AB Viajpayee. He said that his government would assist in arranging funding for the project. Estimated to cost US$550M, the 770MW project is based on a dam each on the Koel and Karo rivers. The scheme was conceived in 1978, but work by the National Hydro-electric Power corporation did not start until the 1990s. Since then, the project has been hindered by tribes who would have to leave their traditional habitat due to the construction of the dams.