No respite from water woes as dam project hits roadblock | delhi | Hindustan Times
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No respite from water woes as dam project hits roadblock

The wait for water from Renuka Dam — projected to cater to more than 25 per cent of Delhi’s water requirement — just got longer.

delhi Updated: May 08, 2012 01:18 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

The wait for water from Renuka Dam — projected to cater to more than 25 per cent of Delhi’s water requirement — just got longer.

The project, conceptualised in 1994 and awaiting forest clearance, has now hit another roadblock.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest recently decided that no stage 1 forest clearance would be accorded to any project until documentary evidence related to the process of settlement of rights under Forest Rights Act 2006 is presented.

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is banking heavily on water from the dam on Giri river, a tributary of Yamuna in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, to augment the ever-increasing water demand.

In a meeting held in the first week of April, a committee that examines and clears proposals for forest clearance under the ministry, applied this decision to three projects, including the Renuka Dam project, which envisages submergence of 775 hectare forest land.

“(So) forest clearance will not be considered till the above conditions are complied with,” said Manshi Asher, members of Him Dhara, an environment research and action group based in Himachal Pradesh.

The National Green Tribunal has stayed the land acquisition process in Himachal Pradesh for the project. The acquisition was challenged on the basis of ‘faulty’ environment impact assessment report and that there was no forest clearance. It is, in turn, pending, owing to a dispute about actual number of trees, including that on shyamlat land (community land) that would be submerged in the dam reservoir.

However, villagers from the area have termed the process of recounting of trees as faulty. “Replies to the RTI queries have shown that 32,640 trees were counted on 453 bigha land in Dungi Kandyon whereas only 23,629 trees were counted from the deemed forest of Panar Kalyan’s 689 bigha. It is clear that the number of trees counted is much higher and that shown in records is less,” claimed Puran Chand, member of the Renuka Bandh Sangharsh Samiti.