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Renuka dam’s fate iffy

delhi Updated: Mar 18, 2011 01:17 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
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Uncertainty over the fate of Renuka dam in Himachal Pradesh, envisaged to augment Delhi’s drinking water needs, has prompted the Delhi government to write to the Union water resource ministry, asking “what next?”

The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had struck down the proposal in August 2010 on the premise that a large number of trees standing on 775 hectares of good quality forestland would be submerged.The project has already been declared a national project. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/18_03_11_pg07b.jpg

Delhi chief minister (CM) Sheila Dikshit told HT on Thursday, “I have written to (minister for water resources) Salman Khurshid today. We were asked to pay to Himachal government, we did that … then we are told about the rejection by environment ministry. So I have asked the Minister — What is the next step?”

Environmentalists have long opposed the dam for the number of trees, including large tracts of reserve forest, that would be destroyed due to it.

Even environment minister Jairam Ramesh, at a public meeting organised by Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India on Wednesday, narrated how he had to deal with Delhi and Himachal Pradesh’s (HP) demand for clearing the Renuka dam project and reiterated, “We cannot allow felling of large number of trees for a city like Delhi.”

A Latha, chairperson of the steering committee of the Forum, said, “Delhi should also look for its own solutions.”