NEW DELHI: The Union Environment Ministry tied itself in knots over pre-feasibility study for the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar in Kerala, first, by giving nod for the project, and later, by retracting its statement saying that the proposal was still under consideration.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issued a clarification late Thursday evening denying approval for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study to Kerala. An official said that the proposal was still under consideration and no action has been taken yet. This contradicts ministry’s May 14 decision, where it stated that proposal was accepted by the Member Secretary. On the ministry’s website, it is said the proposal “IA/KL/RIV/27657/2015 (File No. J-12011/13/2015-IA-1) dated May 12, 2015 has been accepted by the Member Secretary on May 14, 2015”.
Kerala had applied for the Terms of Reference on May 12 seeking environment clearance to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar to replace the old one under safety considerations.
In May, the Supreme Court had rejected Tamil Nadu’s petition seeking to prevent Kerala from carrying out any activity related to the proposed dam, including drilling boreholes in the region and carrying out surveys or inspections. The National Board for Wildlife had cleared the proposal for EIA in December, 2014, as the area falls inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
However, the MoEF did several flip-flops over its approval for EIA by issuing two different clarifications on Thursday denying granting green light for the proposal.
Double clarification in a day
The Ministry of Environment and Forests issued two clarifications on Thursday stating that no approval has been granted for Terms of Reference for construction of new Mullaiperiyar dam in Kerala and for carrying out Environment Impact Assessment study.