The Uttarakhand government has taken strong exception to the ministry of environment and forest’s (MoEF) report holding the ongoing power projects there played a negative role in the disaster that struck the state in 2013.
It said the report prepared by the MoEF-constituted expert body had made generic observations about the impact of the projects, without a scientific study and had completely ignored the principles of sustainable development.
SC had last year halted working of all the proposed projects and even restrained the state and Centre from issuing environment clearances. The court had later in 2013 directed MoEF to conduct a project-wise analysis, for which the Centre sought more time.
In its affidavit before the top court, Uttarakhand has opposed this plea by the MoEF. It accused the Centre for adopting delaying tactics with a view to stall the construction and operation of the hydro-electricity projects, which, the state added, “breeds an environment of suspicion and uncertainty in the minds of the stakeholders.”
At loggerheads with the Centre, Uttarakhand further alleged the expert body was constituted without its consent and had selectively relied on the reports submitted by stakeholders, ignoring their dissenting views. Even the Republic of China was constructing mega hydro-power projects of on the same ranges and, therefore, it was untenable to say the existing projects could alter the region’s ecology, the affidavit stated.
The affidavit also said the state has a total potential of generating 2,700 mW power, which if properly harnessed could help the country overcome its energy crisis.
Hope for Kedarnath disaster victims
Dehradun: In an effort for helping Kedarnath disaster hit families, the Uttarakhand government will publish details of missing people spotted in mentally unstable conditions anywhere in the state. “The CM has directed officials to prepare list of such persons and subsequently publish details in the news dailies,” said Prayag Bhatt, vice-chairperson, Disaster Monitoring Committee. According to government records, 5,600 people were killed in the flash floods that ravaged the Kedar valley.
(With inputs from Anupam Trivedi)