Vishnugad hydro-electric project in Uttarakhand receives the green light
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Tehri Hydro Development Corporation to go ahead with its hydroelectric project over river Alaknanda in Uttarakhand while dismissing a plea against it. A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu expressed concern that petitions are being filed in courts to delay such projects despite the fact that everybody wants electricity.
The court dismissed the plea of an environmentalist Vimal Bahi who had approached it after the green tribunal rejected his plea. “I ask myself this question, everybody wants ‘bijli’ but opposes a hydroelectric project, nuclear plants project,” the bench said.
“Either one petition or PIL is filed against such projects and as a result, they get delayed and by the time the projects take off .. the project cost of Rs1,000 crore becomes Rs10,000 crore and ultimately, the taxpayers’ money goes waste,” it said.
Vishnugad Hydroelectric project is a scheme involving the construction of a 65-meter high diversion dam across Alaknanda near village Helong in district Chamoli. This project is being developed by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation.
The petitioner alleged the land requirement of the project is 120Ha, out of which about 40Ha is agricultural land and 80 Ha is government forest land. He alleged no proper cumulative impact assessment has been done with respect to the project and very critical indicators such as loss of agricultural land, river bed land, village infrastructure and geological settings have not even been considered.
He also submitted that cost benefit analysis has not been done by the authorities.