Public Contracts Ministry has announced bids for complementary environmental and social impact assessment.
The groundwork for the construction of a 72 megawatt hydroelectric dam over the Menchum River in the North West Region is taking shape with officials at the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy saying the recent publication by the Ministry of Public Contracts of the bid on June 26, 2015, for the conduct of the complementary environmental and social assessment, ESIA, following an emergency procedure is proof of government’s commitment to accelerate the project. The restricted international invitation to tender is geared at selecting a firm that will carry out additional studies on the project. The study, according to information at the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy is supposed to span six weeks after the award of the contract to the chosen firm.
The first environmental and social impact assessment of the Menchum Hydropower Project came out in 2013. However, a field visit to the site by officials of the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy revealed that the study did not take into account the presence of a death lake (lake Ileum) around the then proposed resettlement site. The field visit also disclosed that the exact track of the access road was still unknown. The corridor for the transmission line was also out of place. The first studies equally did not take into consideration what experts refer to as the downstream impact (those people living downstream the reservoir). Meantime, experts say the environmental studies for a project encompasses all the above mentioned, and thus, revealing that complementary studies for the project remains indispensable. The project already has a first license from the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development. This indicates that the project is valid and the announced study is coming to fill the gaps that came up after the first study. Stepping up the study is government’s commitment to include all the components and facilitate the project execution by avoiding incidences of misunderstandings with the affected populations because of unequal compensation.
However, officials at the ministry say the announced complementary environmental and social impact assessment studies are not going to slowdown the calendar of activity for the project. Government is intensifying the search for funding and work will commence as soon as money is available. The Menchum Hydroelectric Power scheme is estimated at 325 million USD (about FCFA 191,853,779,504) with a construction period of 40 months and a defects liability period of 12 months.
Source ; Cameroon Tribune