Indian official calling for improved hydropower development process

The chief minister in one of India's Himalayan states is hoping the country can work to streamline the hydropower development process.

Nabam Tuki, chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, says red tape in the forest and environmental clearance process is causing delays that, in some cases, have equated to years.

Adding to the frustration, Tuki says some projects have been given the environmental go-ahead, only to be halted later by what seem to be identical concerns.

The chief minister has acknowledged staff constraints at India's Central Electricity Authority, Central Water Commission, Geological Survey, and Ministry of Environment and Forest as partial causes for the problem, although he says hydroelectric development in Arunachal Pradesh has also been stunted by the region's poor infrastructure.

Tuki says Arunachal Pradesh could contain as much as 40% of India's hydropower potential and that development would not only reduce the industrious country's carbon emissions, but also benefit the region's economy.

Even despite problems in Arunachal Pradesh, reported in June that steelmaker Jindal Power Ltd. will spend US$7.7 billion to develop 6,100 MW of hydropower capacity in the Indian state.

State-owned utility NTPC has also expressed interest in a new 9,750-MW hydropower project, which, if completed, would be the second largest in Asia after China's Three Gorges plant. reported earlier this week that another Indian plant -- the 192-MW Allain Duhangan -- has been credited with reducing the region's CO2 output.

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