Govt to take a decision on Loharinag Pala dam tomorrow | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt to take a decision on Loharinag Pala dam tomorrow

delhi Updated: Jul 01, 2010 14:14 IST

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The Government would take a final decision tomorrow on the 600 MW Loharinag Pala dam on Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand, which the green lobby wants scrapped as it fears it would affect the free flow of the river.

The decision would be taken at a meeting headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh will be attending the meeting.

They would review the study of an expert panel comprising members from the Central Water Commission (CWC), Environment Ministry, IIT and NTPC on the possible environmental consequences of abandoning the project midway.

Work on the Loharinag-Pala dam had commenced in 2005 at an investment of Rs 2,200 crore but it was suspended last year by the Environment Ministry following concerns raised by the environmentalists and locals that the free flowing character of the Bhagirathi has almost come to a halt.

The government has already scrapped two proposed hydel projects 381 MW Bhaironghati project and 480 MW Pala-Maneri project on the river to ensure its free flow.

The decision on Loharinag Pala was kept pending till a report from the committee set up to study the implications of the construction was over.

The committee in its report had concluded that "leaving the project incomplete may aggravate the risks of landslides in certain stretches and may increase the likely damage to the surroundings. But the risks can be mitigated through suitable measures".

Ramesh had said the government would adequately compensate the Uttarakhand Government for the losses in case the work on the dam was stopped.

"The government decision would be final in the matter. But given to me, I would like to declare the 135 km stretch from Gangotri to Uttarkashi as an "eco-sensitive" zone which would give a fresh lease of life to the dying river threatened by an array of dams proposed on the Gangetic belt,"