NGT refuses to decommission Uttarakhand project

The National Green Tribunal has refused to order decommissioning of 400 MW Vishnu Prayag Hydro Electric Project, world’s largest hydro-power project in private sector, located on the upper reaches of Alakananda river in Uttarakhand.

A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar declined to grant the prayer made by Bharat Jhunjhunwala, a professor of economics.

The Tribunal, however, formed a committee to suggest mitigating and regulatory steps to be taken by Jaiprakash Power Ventures, the project proponent.

“…while we find no merit in this application of the applicant to grant the prayed relief of decommissioning of the dam, however, we constitute the following Committee to suggest if any further mitigating and regulatory steps are required to be taken by the Project Proponent in the interest of environment, ecology and aquatic biodiversity,” the Tribunal said.

The members on the committee are Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttarakhand; Principal Scientist, WII, Dehradun; Director, MoEF (Involved in Hydro-Power Projects); and Principal Scientist, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

The Committee would spell out precautionary and mitigating measures to be taken by the Project Proponent, particularly because the barrage is closer to the boundary of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

The petitioner had claimed that though the project was granted environmental clearance in November, 1995, the Uttar Pradesh government had declared the project area as ‘No Development Zone’ on August 23, 1995.

The project was damaged in the floods in June, 2013. However, the dam was restored and it restarted generation of electricity (about 2 billion units per year) in April, 2014.

According to the applicant, the only way of restitution of the environment is to remove the project and restore the environment and ecology of the area with a further direction to pay compensation.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 1:47:34 PM |

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