Ecology association welcomes Centre’s decision on Sillahalla project

Govt. to conduct EIA before granting approval

Published - August 24, 2020 04:13 pm IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

Site earmarked for the Sillahalla hydro-electric project near Udhagamandalam. File photo: M.Sathyamoorthy

Site earmarked for the Sillahalla hydro-electric project near Udhagamandalam. File photo: M.Sathyamoorthy

The Sillahalla Ecology and Social Association (SESA), which has been spearheading a campaign of resistance against the proposed Sillahalla Pumped Hydroelectric Storage Project (PHESP), has welcomed the Central government’s decision to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and hold public hearings before granting approval for the project.

Earlier, a Central government appointed sub-committee had recommended that the project be given environmental clearances without public consultations.

In a statement, the SESA said they hoped that the EIA would be conducted through competent authorities and institutions which will study the geographical stability of the area, the impact of infrastructure accompanying the project, such as roads, bridges, housing, sanitation and drainage would have on the area and on the biodiversity and native forests.

The SESA added that the assessment must take into account the impact the project would have on the heritage and culture of local communities inhabiting the region, tourism and the safety of the dam structure itself.

SESA welcomed the decision to refer the project to the National Board of Wildlife and to abide by the forthcoming Western Ghat Eco-Sensitive Area Notification. “It is hoped that the public hearings (which are yet to be held) will give due opportunity to the people of the project area and the public of the district, NGOs and environmental activists to put forth their views,” said M. Sivalingam, a representative of SESA.

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