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Green Tribunal stops GMR’s hydel project in Uttarakhand

MoEF approved the project despite rejection by FAC twice.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2012 21:01 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

In a major setback to the environment ministry, the National Green Tribunal has put the forest clearance given to a hydel project on Alakananda river in Uttaranchal on hold.

The ministry has given forest clearance to the project despite the Forest Advisory Committee, a statutory body, rejected the project promoted by GMR, twice on the ground that it would harms wildlife living in forests that will get submerged because of it.

The Wildlife Institute of India had clearly said that the project would adversely impact snow leopard and other animals. The WII study was commissioned by the ministry.

The 300 MW Alaknanda-Badrinath hydro project is located in the buffer zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve which has two core zones the Nanda Devi National Park (NP) and Valley of Flowers. Both the core zones are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But, the ministry approved the project on basis of the final report of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, mandated to carry out cumulative impact assessment of all hydel projects in Ganga river basin in the hill state of Uttarakhand.

HT was first to report in December 2011 that the ministry has cleared the project despite objections. After the report, a local activist Vimal Bhai filed a petition in the tribunal challenging the ministry’s forest approval.

Admitting the petition, the tribunal instructed the environment ministry not to allow felling of any trees without its permission.

First Published: Feb 15, 2012 21:00 IST