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‘Want free power, will ban dams’

The Uttarakhand government is willing to ban building of big dams on river Ganga but, in return, wants 2,000 MW of power free of cost.

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2010 00:25 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The Uttarakhand government is willing to ban building of big dams on river Ganga but, in return, wants 2,000 MW of power free of cost.

In what could be seen as a response to environment ministry’s decision to impose a moratorium on new hydel projects in the state, Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, in a letter to PM, had said they favour construction of small hydel projects on the river instead of big dams.

"We will not like Ganga to disappear into a tunnel," he said, while referring to plans to construction big dams.

After a court order the ministry had decided that no new projects should be allowed on river Ganga till a composite ecological study of the river valley is done. It meant that 11 hydel projects will not clearance.

What apparently irked Pokhriyal was despite the ban, an informal GoM approved 600 MW hydel project at Loharinag Pala on river Bhagirathi. "As the Ganga will vanish in 16 kms where the river will pass through a tunnel, the project will be against ... environmental norms," Pokhriyal said, demanding cancellation of the approval to the project.

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