Monday, 2 April 2012

Green Tribunal notice to Ministry on power project in Uttarakhand

(Under construction Srinagar HEP was initially got environment clearance of 200 MW but now build for 330 MW, with taking environment clearance, no public hearing etc. violation after violation. Photo-Matu)

The Pioneer


After suspending the clearance to POSCO steel project in Odisha, the
National Green Tribunal has now issued a notice to the Union
Environment Ministry and sought its response on a plea seeking stay of
work on the 200 MW Srinagar Hydroelectric Power Project in
Uttarakhand’s Garhwal region.

The tribunal, that is giving a difficult time to the Government with
its uncompromising stand on environmental issues, has sought a
response from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),
Uttarakhand Government and Alaknanda Hydro Power Co Ltd (AHPCL) by
April 19 on the plea. The petition also sought that the project on
river Alaknanda be suitably redesigned.

“Issue notice (to the respondents) indicating that the matter shall be
disposed off at the stage of admission,” the bench of tribunal headed
by its acting chairperson Justice A Suryanarayan Naidu said.

The order came on a plea filed by environmental activist Vimal Bhai
and former IIM-Bangalore professor-cum-economist Bharat Jhunjhunwala.
The petition sought stay of work on the project and a direction to
“redesign” it so as to “maintain free flow of the river in part of the
river bed” and to reduce the negative impact on forest and ecology of
the region.

Jhunjhunwala, who argued the matter in person before the bench, sought
a direction to “quash the power purchase agreement” of AHPCL with UP
Power Corporation and to direct AHPCL to supply the generated power to
local area by making a fresh agreement with Uttarakhand Power Corp.

He sought stay on construction work of project till the catchment area
treatment work and green belt work is completed up to four years. The
MoEF had granted environmental clearance to the Uttar Pradesh State
Electricity Board on May 3, 1985 for setting up the 200 MW project.
The petitioner alleged that MoEF has not taken any decision on the
representations submitted to it and on the submissions made during
personal hearing.”

It said MoEF “has, by inaction, allowed construction work to continue
in violation of its own orders and abetted and wilfully connived in
allowing violation of conditions of environment clearance and practice
of unsustainable development”.

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