Monday, 23 June 2014

Press Note: 23-06-14

NGT directs Jaypee Associates to file a comprehensive affidavit on disposal of river bed material : Issues notice to Border Road Organisation
JPWL continues releasing flood material in River Alaknanda

In its twelfth order dated 30th May 2014, the five judge bench of the National Green Tribunal headed by the Hon'ble Chairperson, Justice Swatantar Kumar directed Jaypee Associates to file a comprehensive affidavit on disposal of river bed material lying in the Vishnupryag HEP on Alakhnanda River, Joshimath, Uttarakhand in the matter of Vimalbhai vs. Japee Associates. This case was filed by Vimalbhai, founder of Matu Jansangthan against Jaypee Associates, the project proponent of Vishnupryag HEP with the help and assistance of the villagers living downstream of Vishnupryag HEP. The owners of Vishnupryag HEP (400 MW), Jaiprakash Power Venture Ltd. {JPVL} is one of the company responsible for the destruction faced by the downstream villages in June 2013 calamity. The following reliefs have been sought by the NGT in this matter:

  1. Direction to the project proponent to stop the dumping of muck and debris on the river bed or any other area not designated for such dumping
  2. Direction to the project respondent to first do the impact assessment and prepare proper plan for removal of muck and debris.
  3. Direction to the Respondent to remove the muck and debris dump on the river bed area and restore the river bed of Alaknanda.
  4. Direction to the Respondent to remove the illegal temple constructed on the river bed and restore the area to its original position.Direction to the project proponent Respondent No.1 to pay damages and penalty for doing harm and damage to the environment and paricularly to the Alakhnanda river.

On 16th –17th June 2013 the massive flood in Uttarakhand washed away various properties in Lambagarh, Pandukeshwar, Govindghat, Vinayak Chatty, Pinolaghat villages and areas downstream. This destruction happened because of the closure of the gates by the project proponent at the time of floods. This also resulted in accumulation of huge amount of Muck and Debris in the Reservoir of the dam. JPVL itself accepted in its reply of the NGT case that only two gates were opened but one gate was not opened due to some technical fault.

After the incident, in order to clean the reservoir, the project proponent started removing the flood material from the reservoir and dumped the Muck and Debris directly into the river bed of Alaknanda river. The said activity was not only in violation of the environmental norms but also caused damage to the life and property of the people in the downstream. It is known that if the river has changed its natural course during the flood or otherwise, the river loses its course and is more likely to flow from the changed course only. This may lead to another huge calamity in the coming future.

Since no action was initiated against the illegal dumping of debris in the river bed, Matu Jansangthan wrote a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Subsequently the case was filed in the NGT. Only after the initiation of the case in the month of October 2013 and different orders passed by NGT, the district administration of Chamoli became active and made a plan according to dam builder. ((cant understand this line)During the case Matu Jansangthan tried to keep an eye on the river siltation and constantly produced pictures and other documents in order to show violation of environmental norms. Many things can be seen Matu on website

The recent report filed by applicant in the case presents the current scenario of the area, the report states:
" It is very much clear that from the barrage site of Vishnuprayag HEP, there is hardly any area of river which has been cleaned or the minimum ecological flow is maintained. The way muck or river bed materials are left dumped on the river bed, it is obvious that the different authorities including dam proponent are unable to dispose of the huge muck and waiting for the monsoon and the river to take away the muck with it. This is bound to affect the downstream ecology of river. With such unplanned dumping of so much muck and debris, the future of the river is uncertain.Though the muck is removed from the barrage site to resume the electricity production, but the muck deposited in the upstream is bound to flow downstream with rain in next season. And it is anticipated that during rainy season, the muck will be slowly carried out by river. Therefore, proper management plan of removing the muck is very much necessary keeping in mind its environmental impact. And this has to be done before monsoon, hence immediate action is required" (full report can be seen on our blog

On 17th June, 2014 again flood material entered into turbines from dam reservior and production stopped. Dam authorities opened the gate and debris was pushed in the river with water pressure. This is what we were expecting. Next date of NGT case is 17th July, 2014. We have shown photos of the area above the dam which is full of debris. We had a feeling that dam authorities will use monsoon for clearing the debris from the dam reservoir. That is what they are doing now. Before the next hearing in NGT most of the debris will be cleared from the reservior. No central or state agency is monitoring this act of the Vishnuprayag dam authorities.

All the orders of NGT can be seen on

After the June calamity 2013 massive muck and debris flooded in the Alaknanda and its tributaries. In Bhagirathi also the flood material got accumulated in Tehri dam reservior. This will lead to greater losses.
In solidarity

Alok Panwar, Vimalbhai

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