NGT refuses to quash Renuka dam’s environmental clearance

February 03, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:42 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The national capital’s water woes may soon come to an end with the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday giving its nod to the 40 MW Renuka hydro-power project in Himachal Pradesh and refusing to quash the environmental clearance granted to it.

The green panel also declined to stall the land acquisition proceedings for the dam by the State government since the project has been declared “a project of national importance” by the Centre.

“Considering the national importance of the project and declared by the Supreme Court as ‘cannot be allowed to be killed by any kind of apathy or indifference’, we find that the environment clearance granted is not to be quashed as sought for by the appellant. Considering the national interest and the amount already spent, we are not inclined to accept the submission of the appellant to quash the EC.

“Complying the principle of sustainable development, giving due regard to the protection of the environment, we consider it necessary to issue certain directions to ensure that the development is not to be sacrificed as well as irreversible damage and degradation of the environment is not permitted,” a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The NGT also constituted a committee to look into the resettlement and rehabilitation policy for villagers displaced due to the power project and decide the conditions that should be imposed upon the project proponent to ensure that the dam does not have any adverse impact on ecology and environment.

“The committee shall assess and examine the present status of the compliance done by the project proponent in terms of condition imposed by the National Board of Wild Life and the Supreme Court while granting clearance for diversion of 49 hectare of Renuka Wild Life Sanctuary.

“The committee shall examine the proposal of the project proponent with reference to the actual forest and non-forest land required, public and private,” the Bench said.

Conceived to fulfil the water requirement of Delhi and surrounding areas like NOIDA, Faridabad, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the Renuka dam project is proposed to be built on the Giri river in Sirmaur district.

The total project cost which was initially estimated at Rs 3498.86 crores as in March, 2009 is likely to go beyond Rs 5,000 crores with delay in the execution of the project.

Water from the 148-metre high and 430-metre wide dam was to be discharged into the Yamuna river through its tributary, Giri, and then released at the Hathni Kund barrage from where it would pass to the Munak channel and finally reach the capital. - PTI

Green panel’s nod for the 40 MW project may end water woes of Delhi and NCR

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