NEW DELHI: Bypassing environment concerns and site visits, a panel of the Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared the construction of an 800 MW hydroelectric project under the Indus Water Treaty inside Kishtwar High Altitude National Park (KHANP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Environment Appraisal Committee on River Valley and Hydroelectric project in its meeting on December 5 cleared the project without any site visit by experts to assess the impact on flora and fauna in the park. The clearance was deferred in October for need of a site visit to be carried by a sub-committee in November.
“Members of the sub-committee could not visit the project due to very harsh climate conditions in November 2017. The Member Secretary informed the Committee that the next visit would be possible only after June 2018 as by that time, weather conditions will become fairly good,” said the minutes of the meeting.
The project is proposed on the Marusudar River, a tributary of the Chenab, in Kishtwar. It is a storage scheme permitted under the Indus Water Treaty. Bursar is the first such project with storage capacity of 0.5 MAF (million acre-feet) in Chenab Basin and has been declared a National Project under the Prime Minister Reconstruction plan for J&K.
In October, the committee had emphasised on the need for a site visit. “EAC members felt the proposed location is located in a rich biodiversity area. Kishtwar High Altitude National Park is located within 10 km radius of the project site, addressing of deep pools and their season migratory path in between dam to power house for fish spawning, etc. After submission of the site visit report of the Sub-committee, the proposal will again be reconsidered before the EAC,” thecommittee had recommended.
The project envisages construction of a 265 m high concrete gravity to generate hydropower with an installed capacity of 800 MW.
800 MW hydroelectric under Indus Water Treaty
National Project under PM’s reconstruction plan for J&K
Falls inside Kishtwar High Altitude National Park
The project was cleared without any site visit by experts to assess the impact on flora and fauna in the national park