The Uttarakhand government is not in a hurry to resume the construction of its two major hydel projects — 480-Mw Pala Maneri and 381-Mw Bhaironghati — on the Bhagirathi river. Official sources said a decision before the coming Lok Sabha elections on the sensitive Bhagirathi issue is unlikely even as a high-powered committee, set up to assess the ecological impact of hydel projects on the river, completed its report last week with a recommendation to maintain at least 4 cumecs of environmental flow during the lean season.
The committee has already submitted its report to the Union power ministry, which is yet to take a decision. On the other hand, the state government is also in no mood to take any hasty decision on the river issue. “We will first study the report in
detail,” said a state government official.
Yogenra Prasad, the chairman of Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (UJVNL), which was developing the two hydel projects, however remained optimistic, saying sooner or later the government would take decision.
Meanwhile, GD Agrawal, a prominent environmentalist, is still continuing his indefinite fast over the issue of constructing
hydel projects on the Bhagirathi. In June last year, he had resorted to similar fast, following which the Uttarakhand government suspended the construction of the two projects. Agrawal and other top environmentalists are opposing them on
Significantly, the work on NTPC’s 600 Mw-Lohari Nagpala, which is also being built on the Bhagirathi, is continuing. NTPC has so far invested Rs 300 crore on the project with contracts of headrace tunnel, barrage and powerhouse already being awarded to various private companies.
Source - Business Standard