Ministry vs ministry over future of 6 hydel projects

Two ministries at the Centre are banging their heads unable to take a call on the way forward. 

Published: 09th February 2021 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2021 07:55 AM   |  A+A-

Rescue operations underway at the Tapovan tunnel of a power project, a day after flash floods wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand, on Monday | Shekhar Yadav

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Given the fragile nature of the Uttarakhand ecosystem, should hydel power projects be permitted in the region? The question became more acute after the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy that killed over 4,000 people.

However, two ministries at the Centre are banging their heads unable to take a call on the way forward. The latest face-off between the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Jal Shakti ministry is over a draft policy framework drafted by the former over the impact of hydel projects in the state.

While the Jal ministry has categorically said it is not in favour of any hydel projects in the region, the MoEFCC draft has not cleared the air on six projects sanctioned by it before 2013, where 50% investment has already been made. Their promoters are THDC India Ltd., NHPC Limited, NTPC Limited, GMR Group (1 each ) and Super Hydro Electric Power Ltd (2). 

“The draft is vague. It says six projects will be allowed, but has not clarified their impact. They also circulated the power ministry comments supporting the projects,” a top official of the Jal ministry said.
Given the differences, a joint affidavit is yet to be filed before the Supreme Court. The draft was prepared based on the SC’s order to review the impact of approved hydel projects.


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