Contradictory reports on Ganga project emerge | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Contradictory reports on Ganga project emerge

In a repeat of the Posco inquiry, a committee looking into issues raised by Uma Bharti to save Dhara Devi temple in Uttarakhand has submitted fragmented reports with contradictory views.

delhi Updated: Jun 25, 2011 23:37 IST
Chetan Chauhan

In a repeat of the Posco inquiry, a committee looking into issues raised by Uma Bharti to save Dhara Devi temple in Uttarakhand has submitted fragmented reports with contradictory views.

The official and non-official members of the committee have given separate reports showing a clear division on the proposed action to save the temple and enforce environmental rules to allow the increased scope of the 330 MW Srinagar Hydroelectricity Project.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh got the construction of the Alaknanda river dam stopped after Bharti wrote a letter against submergence of the temple to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh.

He constituted a three-member inquiry panel with two ministry officials S Das and Sanchita Jindal, and a Delhi University professor, Nayanjot Lahiri, to suggest measures to save the temple and submit a compliance report on environmental conditions imposed when the project was cleared in 1996.

Lahiri's report took a contrary view to the official members' report, who agreed with project proponents that the temple can be elevated using concrete pillars and said there was no need to review it.

Lahiri also objected to the committee members meeting the locals in the presence of project proponents Alaknanda Hydro Power Limited, thus resulting in their agreeing with the project.

She also differed with the view of the official members that there was no need to review environment clearance to increase the scope of the project from 200 MW to 330 MW and increase its height from 77 metres to 99 metres.

"Until an alternative plan is prepared and shared with the temple management, no further work should be done at Dhara Devi temple site," her report said.

In case of Posco, three non-official members had differed with Meena Gupta, former environment ministry secretary and submitted a separate report. But, the ministry had finally gone with Gupta's minority view.

Uma meets Sonia
BJP leader Uma Bharti met Sonia Gandhi on Saturday to demand effective action to save the Ganga.

"My demand is that Ganga should be declared a national river," Bharti said after the meeting.

"I am overwhelmed that Sonia Gandhi has kept the issue of Ganga separate from politics and given me time... She has assured me that she will talk to the PM and Ramesh regarding my demands, and also ask them to meet me."

Bharti's demands include the constitution of a board comprising locals, religious leaders, environmentalists and scientists to analyse all projects on the Ganga in Uttarakhand.

(With HTC inputs)