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SC seeks report on Alaknanda, Bhagirathi basin hydel projects


New Delhi, Nov 5;

The Supreme Court Wednesday sought a report from the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) on the environmental impact of the five hydroelectric power projects coming up in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basin in Uttarakhand.

Supreme CourtNTPC, NHPC, THDC, Super Hydroelectric and GMR Energy are implementing one project each. All these projects were given environmental clearances before 2012.

Granting the ministry four weeks to submit its report on these five projects and 19 other hydroelectric projects, the apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said the projects having all the clearances would stand on a different footing than those having none or one or two clearances.

The ministry told the court that since the last hearing of the matter Oct 9, it had held three meetings with the public sector undertakings which are commissioning the hydroelectric power projects in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basin, and sought another eight weeks to comply with Aug 12, 2014, directions of the apex court.

The apex court by its Aug 12 order had asked the MoEF to submit report on the impact that each project would have on the environment of the Ganga and Alaknanda river basin.

Resisting the plea for more time by the ministry, the NTPC told the court that it was incurring a loss of Rs.One crore per day since its order of Aug 12, more than two months have passed and it continues to incur losses. It said that since it had all the environmental clearances, it may be allowed to proceed with the project.

The court said that it needed report from the MoEF before it could pass any order.