Subansiri Dam | 16 Jul 2019

Despite National Green Tribunal's order of not resuming construction or concretization work at Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHP) till safety issues are resolved, massive concretization has been carried out at the Subansiri hydroelectric project.

  • Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP), is an under-construction gravity dam on the Subansiri river along the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Subansiri River (gold river), originates in the Tibet Plateau and enters India through Miri hills in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • It is the largest tributary of Brahmaputra River.
  • Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project had been kept pending due to local agitation over several dam safety and administrative issues involved in the implementation of the project like:
    • SLHEP contravenes the 1980 Brahmaputra Board Act by transferring the work of Water Resources Department of Subansiri Basin from the Brahmaputra Board to the public and private sector.
    • Increased seismic threat level to the dam, assessed by Indian Institute of Technology at Roorkee.

Gravity Dam

  • Gravity dam is constructed from concrete or cement (unlike mud and masonry stones used in embankment).
  • It is designed to hold back water by primarily utilising the weight of the material alone to resist the horizontal pressure of water pushing against it.

Other Controversial Dams

  • Sardar Sarovar Dam: The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam (2nd largest concrete gravity dam by volume in the world) on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat.
    • Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, receive water and electricity supplied from the dam.
    • Dam is alleged to displace around 2.5 lakh villagers.
  • MullaPeriyar Dam: It is a gravity dam on the Periyar River in Idukki district of Kerala but it is owned and operated by the Tamil Nadu government.
    • There is an ongoing contention between Kerala and Tamilnadu governments over the height of the dam.
  • Polavaram project: It is an under-construction multi-purpose National project on the Godavari River in the West Godavari District and East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.
    • The project will submerge villages in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin and is located in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • World Bank’s court of arbitration failed to resolve the dispute between India and Pakistan over Indus water treaty issue.