In a rare decision, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the environment ministry has rejected construction Tipaimukh hydel project as it would have caused colossal loss of pristine forest and relocation of 12 villages in north-eastern state of Manipur.
The project for generation of 1,500 MW of power would have resulted in diversion of 24,300 hectares of forest land, which is one-fifth of the total forest diverted for hydro power projects since 1980.
"The forest land required for the project is more than 100 times the average rate of diversion of forestland for hydel projects for which approval under the Forest Conservation Act has been accorded so far," the environment ministry’s statutory committee said.
The committee also said requirement of forestland for generation of per megawatt of power is also much higher than the average per mega watt requirement of forestland for hydel projects in the country.
The Manipur government had proposed to cut 78,16,931 trees and 27,000 bamboo clums - almost equal to Delhi’s green cover - to build a dam. It would have also resulted in endangered of some rare species of wildlife in the area and the adverse impact of the project could not have been mitigated.
"The social and environmental impact of the project outweighs the economic benefit," the FAC said in its conclusion while rejecting the project.