NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh government’s religious and Hi-tech smart city project on the banks of river Ganga has hit a roadblock with the wildlife panel of the Ministry of Environment and Forests rejecting the project, saying it will kill 7 kilometer stretch of holy river in the state and will draw huge amount of water from already water stressed river.
The proposal for developing Garh Mukteshwar as Hi-tech smart city on both banks of Ganga falling within the boundary of Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in district Hapur and Amroha, Uttar Pradesh was turned down by the Standing Committee of Nation Board for Wildlife. The panel has now asked the state to submit a revised proposal.
The project involved the development of an area of 7395 ha of non-forest land but the committee rejected the project after the site inspection as it was found that the construction of this project will change the morphology and hydrodynamics of the Ganga River at the proposed site and will kill approximately 7 km of the holy river.
“This will hinder the efforts made by Government of India in the restoration effort of the Ganga River and will negatively affect the success of making a clean and vibrant Ganga which is one of the main agenda of the Government of India,” said the committee.
The ministry panel further observed that the construction of the barrage will cause disruption of the ecological process in Ganga and the stretches of river at the proposed project site is one of the cleanest part of the river in UP which holds the significant population of National Aquatic Animal- the Ganges River dolphin, critically endangered Gharial and several species of threatened turtle species.
Maintaining ecological flow in Ganga being a matter of concern, the committee expressed concern that the project is based on the premises of drawing a minimum of 6000 cusec of water from the river for sustaining the project.
“The Ganga river is already water stress. As evident from the 48527 cusec of water is already being extracted before the proposed site. Diverting 6000 cusec of water from the barrage will make the downstream to the project site ecologically dead. The unregulated extraction of water without ecological consideration is one of the major factors affecting the integrity of the Ganga,” it added.
The committee further said that the project proposes to divert 7395-hectare area of the Sanctuary and this will negatively affect the population of endangered swamp deer, sambar and host of other rare and threatened species of Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary.