Amid rising protest over allowing 600 MW power project in Loharinag Pala in Uttaranchal, the Environment ministry will shortly come out with a comprehensive policy on whether to allow more hydel projects in the state or not.
Till the comprehensive assessment is done, there would be a so-called moratorium on new hydel projects on tributaries of river Ganga in Uttaranchal. The BJP government in the state had planned over 300 hydel projects on various tributaries of river Ganga.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh told members of National Ganga River Basin Authority, on Friday that allowing Loharinag Pala hydel project was a “political necessity” as the National Thermal Power Corporation had spent over Rs. 600 crore on the project.
The minister apparently did a lot of explaining on why the dam was allowed even though he admitted that the dam could cause ecological damage in the Bhagirathi river basin. “We would be advising NTPC on minimising the environment loss and would be monitoring the project development work,” he said at the meeting.
The non-official members of the authority had opposed granting approval to Loharinag Pala dam saying the dam will impact the flow of river Bhagirathi, a tributary of river Ganga.