In a blow to Renuka Dam in Himachal, the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday asked the state government to stop construction and acquisition of the land for construction the dam in Sirmaur district.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by affected person Durga Ram, who had challenged the environment clearance given to the project in October 2009. However, former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in 2010 had refused to give forest clearance to the project despite a ministry committee approving the project.
The petitioner had claimed that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project was inadequate and there were several discrepancies in the total areas to be acquired for the project and the families likely to be affected.
The EIA report, the environment clearance (EC) letter and the affidavit filed by HPPCL in the court had three different sets of data.
While the EC was granted for 1,477 hectares of land the state government now claims that the total land required for the project will be 2,239 hectares. Similarly the EIA states that only 308 families will be directly affected by the project whereas the state government puts this figure at more than 1000.
Despite the forest clearance not granted, the state government’s agencies were carrying out land acquisition. Water from Renuka Dam is to be provided to Delhi for its drinking water needs but the project envisaged in early 1990s have got stuck because of resistance by locals.