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Government sets early deadline for Ganga hydro projects to ensure flow levels

The Centre has cut down by two years the grace period accorded to hydropower projects on the upper stretches of the Ganga, for complying with environmental-flow requirements.

Environmental flows refer to minimum water levels that must be maintained in the river at all times of the year for its health and sustainability as against hydropower projects that frequently dam water in rivers for generating power.

On October 11, 2018, noted activist G.D. Agrawal succumbed after a 100-day fast to steer the government’s attention to pollution in the Ganga as well as the harm being wreaked by hydropower projects and sand mining.

2018 notification

On October 9 that year, amidst protests by Ganga activists and monks, the government had passed a notification requiring hydropower projects to release minimum quantities of water. However, it gave hydropower projects “three years (beginning October 11, 2018 ) ” to make modifications to projects to comply with these norms.

Last week, via a gazette notification, the government advanced this deadline to December 15 of this year.

There are 16 commissioned projects and 13 under-construction projects along the Ganga. “The CWC has for a year monitored flows from the these projects and what we found was that all of the projects had the capacity to comply with the e-flow regime,” said Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director-General, National Mission Clean Ganga, “Only half the projects were compliant and the others were non compliant only because they had time till 2021. This is unacceptable, and so we've made this change.”

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:36:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-sets-early-deadline-for-ganga-hydro-projects-to-ensure-flow-levels/article29478721.ece

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