The Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. has clarified that the ambitious Rs. 5,000-crore Sharavathi Pumped Storage project will use drilling and tunnelling as means to minimise ecological damage.
While the length of the two tunnels that will be laid between existing Talakalale and Gersoppa reservoirs in Shivamogga district is around 7 km cumulatively, only around 1 km at the start of the head race and tail race tunnels will be done through cut and cover method that involves excavation of the land.
Underground power station
The rest of the canals, as well as underground power station as well as transformer chamber will be done through tunnelling method well below the Jog Reserve Forest in such a manner that it will not disturb flora and fauna on the surface.
The Hindu had reported that the Sharavathi Pumped Storage project, which has received pre-construction approval to conduct Environment Impact Assessment studies as well as the impact of the project on the endangered Deccan Mahseer species, may consume up to 150 hectares of forest land in the Western Ghats.
The project had raised concern among environmentalists.
However, Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. officials said that by using tunnelling methods which was “successfully” used in Varahi projects, the environmental damage could be minimised.