NGT asks panel to monitor Vishnugad-Pipalkoti Hydro-Electric project

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed a six-member monitoring cell, headed by the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary to oversee the Vishnugad-Pipalkoti Hydro-Electric project.

As per a recent order, the panel will oversee the execution of mitigation measures to prevent damage to the dam, the infrastructure, and the habitation upstream and downstream of the dam.

The NGT chairperson Justice (retd) Adarsh Kumar Goel was dealing with an appeal against the Environment Clearance (EC) dated August 26 granted by MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) to the project, which is situated over an area of 141.568 ha at Haat village, in Joshimath of Chamoli district.

In the order, it was noted that the concern of obstructing the movement of fisheries by the project may adversely affect the local communities. Impact on habitations upstream and downstream areas by flooding, landslides, etc. have also been considered, it added.

Other members are nominees of the State Disaster Management Authority, MoEF&CC having expertise in dealing with River Valley Projects, preferably belonging to Uttarakhand, NMCG, G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, Almora, State PCB, and Director of Coldwater Fisheries Research, ICAR, Bhimtal, District Nainital, Uttarakhand.

The court observed that more than Rs 2,000 crore have been invested in the project which has been executed beyond 50 per cent.

“However, a strenuous monitoring mechanism is required to be provided, especially for areas prone to landslides and to prevent damage to the dam and other infrastructure,” the green court noted.

It also stated that “there is no illegality in exempting public consultation.”

“There are provisions in the EMP (environmental management plan) for Disaster Management Measures, strengthening of impediments and other forcible impacts on fragile Himalayan Geomorphology,” the order read.

The Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP) is a proposed 444 Megawatt (MW) run-of-the-river hydro generation project on the Alaknanda River, which is a tributary of the Ganga.




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