Assam · Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Dams

Comments on Scoping Clearance Application of Panyor HEP on Ranganadi River in Arunachal Pradesh

The Arunachal Pradesh government has signed a MoU with Panyor Hydro Power Private Limited, a company based in Hyderabad to construct the Panyor hydro electric project. This will be the second hydroelectric project coming up on the Panyor River which is also known as Ranganadi in the downstream. This project with 80 (2x40MW) MW installed capacity is to be considered for ToR clearance in the 69th meeting of EAC to be held on 11-12 November, 2013.

Salient Features Panyor Hydropower project will be located a Lemma, a village five km upstream of the Yazali town in Lower Subansiri district. The proposed project is 12 km upstream of the Ranganadi dam Stage II with a surface power house on the left bank of the river and a 108 m high concrete gravity dam. This reservoir will cover 7.5 km of the river length. The catchment area of this dam is 1315.50 sq km. The tail race channel will be 300 m long. Total area required for the project is 390 ha. Out of this 42 ha is river area, 25 ha is reserve forest and 323 ha is private land. The total estimated cost of this project is Rs 820 crores which imply that per megawatt cost is Rs 10.25 crores.

First Wave of Flash Flood on June 14, 2008 near N Lakhimpur town, due to excess water released from Ranganadi HEP without prior warning
First Wave of Flash Flood on June 14, 2008 near N Lakhimpur town, due to excess water released from Ranganadi HEP without prior warning

Critical Issues It was surprising to see that even though the project has been on EAC agenda for ToR clearance MoEF website does not have the complete documents for this project. The PFR document of the project was not opening up in the website. Going through the Form I of the project we found several issues which need to be highlighted.

Downstream impacts In regard of the project on the Panyor river it is very important to remember that the catastrophic downstream impacts of hydropower dams in Arunachal, which has been a subject of much debate in Assam, with specific issues raised against the existing 405 MW HEP on Ranganadi. The release of water from the Ranganadi dam on June 14, 2008 had led to flash floods in a vast area and catastrophic devastation in the downstream. The Ranganadi dam is having severe downstream impacts not only in the Ranganadi valley, but also in the Dikrong valley since water from this dam is released in Dikrong or Pare River through an 8.5 km long diversion tunnel. Now construction of another dam on the same river which needs serious analysis since the Form I (p 45) states “Downstream impact on water, land, human environment due to drying up of the river at least 10 km downstream of the dam.”

The drying of the river for at least 10 km downstream of the proposed dam also need to seriously examined keeping in mind the reservoir spread of the Ranganadi stage I project.

Not a single village affected and no rehabilitation? Form I (p 33) states that not a single village would be affected and no rehabilitation needs to be done, which seems doubtful. The document at the beginning states that the project is located near Lemma village. It also suggests for socio-economic impacts where it mentioned about project affected families. These are serious contradictory issues within the same report and the developer should be asked to resolve this.

Environment Flow contradictory The Form I provides contradictory information regarding environment flow. On the last page, the document states “A scientific study shall be done to assess the downstream requirement of water to decide minimum assured release of water (Environmental Flows) for maintaining the aquatic ecology and water quality of river.” But on page 33 in the section 2.7 the document states that environment flow will be 3 cumecs.

Important aspects left out from scoping of EIA study In the scoping for EIA/EMP study there are several important aspect which the Form I has made no mention at all. These include:

1. Impacts of excavation and mining

2. Impact of the project on landslide and other disaster potential of the area and region.

3. Disaster management plan considering the previous flash flood event in June 2008.

4. Impacts of climate change and impacts of the project on local climate

5. Options assessment including potential of micro hydro (below 1 MW capacity)  projects. The project will submerge a huge 312 ha of land. The PP (Project Proponent) should look into the options for run of river project rather than a dam with such huge submergence.

Wrong answers given in Form 1 In case of some of the information given in the Form 1, it seems wrong and the PP should be asked to correct it. For example (this is not exhaustive list):

1. In case of point 1.26 (p 11), in response to question “Long-term dismantling or decommissioning or restoration works?”, the Form says “No”. This is clearly wrong. After the useful life of the dam, it will need to be decommissioned and this has to be part of the EIA and TOR.

2. Similarly answer to question 1.27 (“Ongoing activity during decommissioning which could have an impact on the environment?”) is wrongly given as No.

3. In para 1.2 (p 6) there is no mention of land requirement for mining material for the project like sand, gravel, boulders, etc.

4. Para 2.2 (p 12) how much water will be used (KLD) or source is not given.

5. Para 2.3, in answer to minerals No is given, where as the project will require sand, clay, gravel, boulders, etc.

6. In response to Para 2.7, the impact of project on aquatic biodiversity, including fisheries should have been mentioned.

7. In response to Para 3.1 use of explosives is admitted. However, it should be told to PP to minimize the use of explosives considering the impact of them on increased landslides and other disasters.

8. In response to Para 3.3 the PP should have mentioned the impact of project on the people who also use the forests, rivers, get affected by other aspects including destruction of biodiversity including fisheries upstream and downstream.

9. In para 4.2 (p 16) and elsewhere, estimate of 1000 populations for “400 technical and labour staff” is clearly wrong. Also estimate of 200 labour vs 150 technical staff also do not seem correct.

10. Para 4.3 should also include the remains of explosives among hazardous waste.

11. Para 5.8 (p 19) answer (Q: Emissions from any other sources) No is clearly wrong, the reservoir covering 312 ha will certainly emit methane needs to be assessed.

12. In para 8.3 (p 22) and point 12 under environmental sensitivity (p 25-6) the vulnerability due to floods and landslides such others also need to be mentioned and response to them included.

13. The whole document keeps mentioning 25 ha forest land without inclusion of the community managed forest land in Arunachal Pradesh. This is clearly wrong information.

14. Under point 3 in on Environmental sensitivity (p 24) in response to “Areas used by protected, important or sensitive species of flora or fauna for breeding, nesting, foraging, resting, over wintering, migration”, it is not sufficient to investigate with forest dept, as the response says, since there are several aspects here (e.g. aquatic biodiversity) that are beyond the domain of forest department.

Cumulative Impact Assessment The information given in para 9.4 (p 24) is clearly wrong. There are at least eleven hydropower projects at various stages in the combined Ranganadi-Dikrong basin, including one operating, one under construction, three TOR approvals given and five additional MoA signed (in addition to the proposed project), see details below:

1. 405 MW Ranganadi HEP (Existing, transferring water from Ranganadi to Dikrong)

2. 110 MW Pare HEP (under construction)

3. 60 MW Par HEP on Dikrong (TOR approved by EAC on 8/9/2012)

4. 60 MW Dardu HEP on Dikrong (TOR approved by EAC on 8/9/2012)

5. 66 MW Turu HEP on Dikrong (TOR approved by EAC on 8/9/2012)

6. 25 MW Adum (Upper) Panyor HEP: Upfront premium and application fee of Rs 11.05 lakhs received by Arunachal Pradesh government from BSS Arunachal Energy Development Pvt. Ltd. (on 10/03/2010)[1]

7. 21 MW Panyor Lepa Middle HEP: Upfront premium nad processing fee of Rs 9.4 lakhs received by Arunachal Pradesh Government from JMD Power Solutions Pvt, New Delhi (on 27/08/2010)

8. 25 MW Papumpam HEP: allotted to: Meena Entrade and Engineering Pvt. Ltd. Naharlagun, AP. on 19/08/2008[2]

9.  15 MW Papum HEP: allotted to Patel Tours and Travels (Mumbai) on Dec 12, 2008

10. 12 MW Poma HEP: allotted to Patel Tours and Travels (Mumbai) on Dec 12, 2008

Hence a credible basin study is required BEFORE any more (including Panyor) projects are considered in Ranganadi-Dikrong basin.

Costly Project Per MW cost of this project will be Rs 10.25 crores according to current estimates. This will be costly affair considering that per MW cost of solar PV project would be lower than this.

Until the above issues are resolved, the project should not be considered for Scoping clearance.


Himanshu Thakkar ( & Parag Jyoti Saikia (


Annexure: Panchayati Raj Institutions question the project

July 12, 2009

PRIs question Govt on power project

ITANAGAR, July 11: Panchayat leaders of Pistana and Yachuli circles of Lower Subansiri district have voiced their protest against coming up of Panyor Hydro Electric Project, which they claimed was ‘kept secret’ from the public.

In a representation to the Chief Secretary yesterday, the PR leaders led by Zilla Parishad Chairperson Likha Tongum said that  Panyor Hydro Electric Project came to light when M/S Raajratna Energy Holdings Private Ltd of Shimla, started surveying and investigation works in the area. They urged the Chief Secretary to cancel the MoA signed with the private company immediately in the interest of local sentiments.

To the surprise of the people of the area, MoA to this regard was already signed between the govt and the company on February 25 last for implementation of the 80 MW project on BOOT basis for which an amount of Rs 80 lakhs (at Rs 1 lakh per MW) as processing fees was already paid in the name of the Secretary Power, Govt of AP. The grass-root leaders alleged that the whole process was carried out secretly and kept under wraps.

They leaders further came down heavily on the agency for “totally undermining the project affected panchayats”.  

If any agency wants to tap the natural resources available, they have to take the confidence of at least the local panchayat leaders, which is a normal procedure in a democratic setup, the leaders said.

“The local panchayats are the sole custodian and owner of natural resources in the region since time immemorial,” the leaders said and have decided to protest against the execution of the project.

Ministry of Environment and Forests · Uttarakhand · Western Ghats

Affected communities, scientists, experts urge the MoEF: “Address Impacts of Small Hydel Projects”

47 experts and organisations from across the country have written to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, including the Minister Ms. Jayathi Natarajan to include hydel projects between 1-25 MW under the purview of EIA Notification 2006. A similar letter has been sent to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Minister Dr. Farooq Abdulla, to address the impacts of these projects which are governed by the MNRE.

Those who have written include eminent personalities like Former Water Resources Secretary: Dr. Ramaswamy Iyer, Former Ambassador of India: Ms. Madhu Bhaduri, Former Secretary of Power and Principle Advisor to Planning Commission: Dr. EAS Sarma, Former member of MoEF’s Forest Advisory Committee: Dr. Ullas Karanth, Head of IISC’s Centre for Ecological Sciences: Dr. TV Ramachandran, Head of People’s Science Institute: Dr. Ravi Chopra, experts from energy field, as well as activists, fisheries experts, scientists and importantly, representatives from affected communities

Letter sent to MoEF is below:

1. Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan,

Union Minister of State (IC) of Environment and Forests,

Paryavaran Bhawan, Lodhi Road, New Delhi,

2. Dr. V Rajagopalan,


Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi,

 3. Mr. Maninder Singh

Joint Secretary,

Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi,

4. Mr. Ajay Tyagi

Joint Secretary,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi

5. Mr. B. B. Barman

Director (IA) River Valley Projects,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi,

Please include Small Hydel Projects (1-25 MW) under the purview of EIA Notification 2006, considering their serious impacts on ecosystems and communities.

 Respected Madam Minister and office bearers of the MoEF,

We want to record our concern about serious impacts of small hydro projects on communities and ecosystems. Several groups from us have written to you in the past to urgently amend the EIA Notification 2006 and to include Small Hydel Projects in its ambit. Looking at the serious impacts of these projects, MoEF could have suo motto taken this initiative. But that has not happened, despite several amendments in the EIA Notification down the years.

SHPs can have and are having severe impacts on communities and ecosystems. This is significant as SHPs are exempt from environmental impact assessment, public hearing, and environmental management plan as EIA Notification 2006 restrict itself to projects above 25 MW. The local communities are specifically affected as they do not have a platform to voice their concerns.

To highlight some of the impacts of SHPs:

Þ      70 SHPs in Karnataka under scanner following HC orders Karnataka High Court upheld Elephant Task Force’s recommendation about impacts of SHPs on Elephant habitats and directed Karnataka Government to review clearances of all such projects affecting elephant habitats[1], bringing at least 70 SHPs under scanner, 40 in Hassan district, the rest in Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Uttara Kannada districts.

Gangani Small Hydro project in Uttarakhand across Yamuna which resulted in loss of lives and property during Uttarakhand floods. Photo: Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan

Þ      Karnataka HC no to SHPs in W Ghats In Feb 2013, the Karnataka High Court banned SHPs in Western Ghats[2], following a petition filed by Western Ghats Forum.

Þ      Uttarakhand Uttarakhand had earlier cancelled as many as 56 SHPs due to irregularities.

Þ      Western Ghats reports Considering the impacts of small hydro projects, the Madhav Gadgil Panel on Western Ghats recommended that in Ecologically sensitive zone 1, only projects below 10 MW with max height of 3 m and not involving forest land be taken up. In ESZ 2, projects upto 25 MW can be taken up only if dam height is below 15 m. This shows the nuanced approach that is required for small hydro projects. The panel also recommended that WGEA should include small hydro projects under EIA notification. Even the Kasturirangan committee has recommended that hydropower projects, including SHPs be allowed only on condition that 30% eflows are released, less than 50% of the river length is destroyed and there is 3 km free flowing river between projects. It has also recommended that hydropower projects, including small hydro projects should required environment clearance in the Ecologically Sensitive Area.

Pristine Forests set for submergence under the 24 MW Kukke Mini hydel Plant in Dakshin Kannada, Karnataka. Photo: SANDRP
Pristine Forests set for submergence under the 24 MW Kukke Mini hydel Plant in Dakshin Kannada, Karnataka. Photo: SANDRP

Þ      Bhagirathi ESA In the notified Bhagirathi ESA in Uttarakhand, the MoEF itself has implied that Hydro projects only of below 2 MW installed capacity can be taken up.

Þ      BWSSB asks for stoppage of SHPs In March 2013, Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Board (BWSSB) asked the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) to stop power generation from four mini hydel projects on Cauvery River as it was affecting drinking water supply to Bangalore.[3]

Most Small Hydro projects (1-25 MW) are grid connected, and local communities do not get electricity from the projects in their backyards, across their rivers which have significant impacts on local water availability, habitats and submergence.

Some examples in this regard are given here:

Þ      In Himachal, communities have protested strongly against 4.5 MW Hul project affecting drinking water security and irrigation of 6 villages, as well as ancient oak forests.

Protesst against 4.5 MW Hul project in Himachal/ Photo: Saal Ghati Bachao Samiti
Protesst against 4.5 MW Hul project in Himachal/ Photo: Saal Ghati Bachao Samiti

Þ      Projects like 24.75 Kukke I in Dakshin Kannada can submerge a massive 388 hectares, including extremely bio-diverse forests, plantations and houses. This is being strongly opposed by local communities.

Þ      Greenko’s Perla and Shemburi Projects, Basavanna and Mauneshwara SHPs in Karnataka are examples where two 24.75 MW SHPs are fraudulently shown as separate projects, but are single projects with a common dam. In the latter case, villagers assumed that the power canal is actually an irrigation canal for their fields. They only realised that they were alienated from their river after they were banished from approaching the canals.

Blatant violations in 24.75 MW Perla MHP and 24.75 MW Shemburi MHP across Netravathi. The common, huge barrage can be seen for two supposed seperate projects. Photo SANDRP
Blatant violations in 24.75 MW Perla MHP and 24.75 MW Shemburi MHP across Netravathi. The common, huge barrage can be seen for two supposed seperate projects. Photo SANDRP

Þ      Maruthi Gen projects, also in Karnataka, were not only clubbed together, but also hid their significant impact on forest land.

Þ      Submergence data of SHPs is routinely hidden & affected communities are kept in dark till water actually floods their lands. 24.75 MW Thangarabalu SHP on Krishna in Karnataka entails a dam of more than 22 meters in height, but has not divulged any data of submergence to villagers or Forest Department.

Þ      3 MW Beedalli MHP in Karnataka is on the boundary of the Pushpagiri Sanctuary and will severely affect wildlife, but does not envisage eflows release, fish passage or environmental mitigation measures

Þ      15 MW Barapole MHP in Kerala is affecting reserve forests in Karnataka. An earlier such project which was affecting Brahmagiri Sanctuary was opposed and cancelled due to pressure from conservation groups in Karnataka.

Þ      String of more than 98 mini hydel projects in various stages of operation, commissioning, construction and planning on the Cauvery in Karnataka has affected elephant corridors and movement.

Þ      Many mini hydel projects along the Cauvery in Karnataka are adjoining the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, violating the 10 km buffer zone, while also encroaching on forest land.

The lovely bharachukki falls on Cuavery, also shackeled by many mini hydel projects. Photo: SANDRP
The lovely bharachukki falls on Cuavery, also shackeled by many mini hydel projects. Photo: SANDRP

Þ      In Himachal Pradesh, several hydel projects have been built on streams that are on ‘negative list for hydel projects’. Fisheries department wanted in-situ conservation of fish in these streams.

Þ      The 15 MW Om Power project near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh has caused extensive loss of forest cover and has disrupted irrigation and drinking water supply to downstream areas due to indiscriminate muck dumping.

Þ      The 1.5 MW Pakhnoj Nala Power project would impact the flourishing apple economy of 19 villages in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh by disrupting irrigation supplies. The local people have been strongly opposing the project and the matter is pending in the court.

MoEF and NCDMA: National CDM Authority is under the MoEF and has been giving Host Country Approvals to CDM applications of several small hydel projects. Many of us have been writing to NCDMA and MoEF, providing clear evidence of the sham in CDM applications of projects and their validation reports. But the MoEF has never taken a notice of this. In fact, the MoEF certifies that these projects have positive impact on sustainable development without checking the ground situation, when the impacts of some of these projects on sustainable development are negative.

World over, it is being recognised that impact of small hydel projects is in fact comparable with large hydro projects and hence has to be assessed and mitigated.[4] Countries like Vietnam have cancelled 338 small hydel projects as their assessment indicated that environmental and social impacts of these projects is not commensurate with their benefits.[5]

We would be willing to present the problems from the ground to the MoEF. A holistic and truly sustainable approach can help boost renewable energy development in our country.

We are sure MoEF is committed to protecting environmental impacts, irrespective of the installed capacities of projects and will amend the EIA Notification to this effect urgently. Till such a credible regulatory system is in place, we request the MoEF to stop providing Host Country Approvals to Small Hydel Projects.

Some links and additional information related small hydro projects and their impacts can be found at:






Þ      Himdhara’s Report on Mini Hydel Projects in Himachal Pradesh:

Þ      Meeting on Mini hydel projects in Karnataka:


Þ      Comments on some of the CDM proposals for SHPs:

Looking forward to your response to the issues raised above.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely,

  1. Ramaswamy Iyer, Former Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, New
  2. EAS Sarma, Former Secretary, Ministry of Power,
  3. Madhu Bhaduri, Ambassador of India, ( Retd),
  4. Dr. Ullas Karanth, Former member, Forest Advisory Committee, MoEF, Director for Science-AsiaWildlife Conservation Society and Director, Centre for Wildlife Studies,
  5. Dr. Ravi Chopra, Director, People’s  Science Institute, Dehra Doon, Uttarakhand,
  6. Dr.Bharat Jhunjhunwala, Uttarakhand,
  7. Manoj Misra, Convener, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, Delhi,
  8. Sharadcchandra Lele, Member, Elephant Task Force, Bangalore, Karnataka,
  9. Dr. T.V. Ramachandra, Head, Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore
  10. Dr. Bijukumar, Associate Professor and Head, Dept. of Aquatic Biology & Fisheries University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram 695 581, Kerala,
  11. Neeraj Vagholikar, Kalpavriksh, Pune,
  12. Emmanuel Theophilus, Himal Prakriti, Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand,
  13. Ramnarayan K, Himal Prakriti, Pithoragarh,,
  14. Malika Virdi, Himal Prakriti, Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand
  15. Dr. Latha Anantha, River Research Centre, Kerala,
  16. Samir Mehta, River Basin Friends, Guwahati International Rivers, Mumbai,
  17. Dr. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Eco hydrologist, Bangalore,
  18. Dr. Shrinivas Badiger, Fellow, ATREE-Bengaluru,
  19. Dr. Bhaskar Acharya, ATREE, Bangalore,
  20. Dunu Roy, Hazards centre, Delhi,
  21. Sankar Ray, Journalist with specialisation in environmental issues, Kolkata
  22. Meher Engineer,
  23. Manshi Asher, Himdhara Collective, Himachal Pradesh,
  24. Rahul Saxena, Himdhara Collective, Himachal Pradesh,
  25. Prasad Chacko, Human Development and Research Centre, Ahmedabad,
  26. Girin Chetia, North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS), Village & P.O.- DhekiakhowaDist.- Jorhat (Assam),;
  27. Ashwin Gambhir, Prayas Energy Group, Pune,
  28. Falguni Joshi, Gujarat Forum for CDM, Ahmedabad,
  29. Madhusoodhanan C.G., Research Scholar, IIT Bombay,
  30. Neethi Mahesh- Independent researcher, International collaborator- Mahseer
  31. Kedar Nadolli Gogate, Urumbi Ankattu Pratirodh Samiti, Hosmata, Karanataka,
  32. Karunakar Gogate, President, Urumbi Ankattu Pratirodh Samiti, Hosmata, Karanataka
  33. Dr. Beerathadaka Rajesh, Kutrupady, Hosmata, Dakshin Kannada,
  34. Beni Prasad (Chairperson) Jan Jagaran evam Vikas Sanstha, Village Sarsei, PO Haripur, Tehsil and District Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
  35. Dr. Pushpal Thakur (General Secretary), Jan Jagaran evam Vikas Sanstha, Village Sarsei, PO Haripur, Tehsil and District Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
  36. Lal Chand Katoch, Sanyojak, Jal Jangal Jameen Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (Majhat), Village Batahar, PO Haripur, Tehsil and District Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
  37. Rahul Banerjee, Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra, Indore.
  38. Subhadra Khaperde, Kansari nu Vadavno, Khargone
  39. Shankar Tadwal, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, Alirajpur,
  40. Dr. AK Malhotra – Trustee, SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary Trust, Kodagu District, Karnataka,
  41. Gopakumar Menon, Nityata Foundation, Bangalore,
  42. Nisarg Prakash, Nityata Foundation,Bangalore,
  43. Tarun Nair, Researchers for Wildlife Conservation,
  44. Dr Shambu Prasad, Chebrolu, Bhubaneshwar,
  45. Anush Shetty, Bangalore,
  46. Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP, New Delhi,
  47. Parineeta Dandekar, SANDRP, Pune,