The environment ministry has rejected a major hydro project planned on river Gori Ganga in Uttarakhand, saying it would destroy the valley’s fragile ecosystem.
The ministry’s Forest Advisory Committee shot down the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) proposal to construct a 261MW power plant on the Gori Ganga, which finally merges with the Ganga.
The corporation had proposed diversion of 217 hectares of forest for construction of the Rupsiabagar-Kasiyabara hydro projects in Pithoragarh district. The government has planned eight major and 18 minor hydro projects on the 107 km-long river.
More than 50 villages on the river bank had alleged the river would dry up, affecting their livelihood. Once all the projects are implemented, all the river water would be diverted through small tunnels, turning the area into dry land.
The forest committee said the project was proposed in a “virgin wilderness area having high sensitivity to erosion” and that its construction would only make it difficult for the Gori Ganga (also known as white Ganga) to reach the upper Nanda Devi range, where it eventually becomes the Ganga.
The panel also observed that the wildlife management plan prepared for the project was not sufficient.It recommended the proposal may be rejected as it was located in a highly ecologically sensitive wildlife habitat.ydro project in Uttarakhand.