Go head to Arunachal hydropower project
News desk/ arunachal24x7.com
An environment ministry panel has given the go-ahead for the 780 megawatt (MW) Nyamjang Chu hydropower project in the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh.
The decision by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) for river valley and hydroelectric projects comes despite a letter from the ministry’s regional office in Shillong, written in August 2014, revealing illegal felling of trees in Tawang by NJC Hydro Power Ltd, the company behind the project.
The regional office asked the ministry to deny the Rs.7,000-crore project the final forest clearance and also sought levy of a penalty on the developer for violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
The environment ministry has not taken any action on the issue as yet. A query to the ministry seeking information on action taken against the company remained unanswered.
Construction of Nyamjang Chu involves diversion of around 90 hectares of forest. Activists, however, are of the opinion that the project should be appraised afresh as a site inspection has revealed that the total requirement of forest land will be nearly 200 hectares.
Nyamjang Chu, a run-of-the river project, also involves construction of two small hydropower projects—Khangteng (7.5 MW) and Shyaro (3 MW)—to provide power for construction.
The regional office’s site inspection report revealed that the Khangteng and Shyaro hydroelectric projects had been constructed without prior forest clearance. This was the reason for it seeking imposition of a penalty on the project developer and withholding of final forest clearance.
The EAC, in its minutes, noted that it would take up the issue relating to Khangteng and Shyaro projects when the cases are presented to the committee in future.
Environmentalists, however, are unhappy with the move.