The Centre on Friday ordered the suspension of work on a hydel project in Madhya Pradesh citing non-compliance of environmental norms.
The 400 MW Maheshwar Hydel Project is the only private sector project on Narmada river. Around 70,000 people in 61 villages are affected by the project, says a statement by Narmada Bachao Andolan, while welcoming the ministry’s decision.
The suspension order was based on a “not satisfactory” reply of the project proponent — S. Kumar’s — on the environment ministry’s show cause notice in February.
The ministry found that no agriculture land has been identified for rehabilitation of affected people. It noted that of 22 villages that face submergence threat, rehabilitation was completed in only one village. Also, the two wildlife sanctuaries have not been developed.
In a letter issued to the project proponent, the environment ministry said that the ongoing construction work should be suspended immediately till a satisfactory compliance report on rehabilitation and environmental issues is submitted and is found to be satisfactory by the ministry.
After the Union government’s decision, the oustees of the Maheshwar Dam project decided to call off their protest in the Capital.
Narmada Bachao Andolan, which had been spearheading the protest, claimed that the project proponents had failed in rehabilitation of the victims even though the environment clearance was given in 2001.