The slp was actually conceived way back in 1983 when the Brahmaputra Board -- created in 1980 to oversee hydroelectric projects in the Brahmaputra and Barak basins -- prepared a detailed project report on it. Then the project went into a limbo: the Union government revived it only in 2000. In its "Agenda for the socio-economic development of the northeast", the Centre decided to boost hydroelectricity projects in the region, and so apportioned them to nhpc and the North-Eastern Electric Power C orporation. slp went to nhpc . More than 150 dams were envisaged for the eight northeast states; ap was assessed as having the most hydroelectric 'potential'. The prime minister's office pushed hard for slp : "action has been initiated to ensure that the slp commences in 2001". At that time the project was to cost only Rs 3,000 crore and generate 660 mw electricity.
The dam was envisaged as a 116-metre concrete structure in the lower Subansiri basin, 2.5 km upstream of village Gerukhamukh. The river here winds down into Arunachal from neighbouring Assam; its left bank straddles ap while the right one is in Assam (see map: It promised much). The dam will submerge 3,436 hectares (ha) of land upstream when its reservoirs are full. Most threatened areas lie in Lower Subansiri district, ap; a small portion also falls in Assam's Dhemaji and North Lakhimpur districts.
slp is the first major project for nhpc in this region. For underdeveloped ap, it's the only icon of industrialisation: a dream successive governments of this state have sold to their people as a panacea for rampant unemployment.
This dream is in shambles after the sc order of April 19, 2004. The order was based on the recommendations of the five-member C entral Empowered Committee (cec) -- a body that advises the sc on forest-related cases. But equally devastating has been another order, passed by the Union ministry of environment and forests (moef). This order, passed on April 23, 2004 in the wake of an sc directive under cec's advice, created the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (campa). The two orders have collectively created confusion and turmoil, where once none existed.