Ahead of the crucial meeting of the Ganga River Basin Authority (GRBA) convened by the Centre in the national capital tomorrow, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has remained non-committal on resumption of works on hydel projects stopped in June 2008.
“We will take a decision,” Mr. Nishank, who is likely to attend the meeting, said. However, he did not give a time frame in this regard.
Official sources said Mr. Nishank was under pressure from some environmentalists as well as VHP leaders like Ashok Singhal, who are calling for a blanket ban on hydel projects on the Bhagirathi river.
The GRBA meeting is likely to decide the fate of 600 MW Lohari Nagpala and other projects which have been put on hold.
While NTPC’s Lohari Nagpala being built in Uttarkashi district with an investment of Rs 2500-3000 crore was at a very advance stage, the state-run Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL) had also done considerable work on Pala Maneri and Bhaironghati.
NTPC had already invested Rs 550 crore in the Lohari Nagpala project and UJVNL Rs 100 crore in the Pala Maneri project.
Vijay Bahuguna, a Congress MP from Tehri along with other party leaders, has also held demonstrations for the early resumption of these projects.
In May, the Uttarakhand High Court entrusted the responsibility of these projects to the GRBA which was set up early this year by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also declared Ganga as the national river.
NTPC has also said it would give priority to environmental factors of Bhagirathi as per the recommendations of the expert committee from Lohari Nagpala project.