Green team visits Himachal hydro plant

Saturday, October 2, 2010

SHIMLA - A team of the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) Saturday visited Kinnaur district where the Kashang hydro-power project is coming up and heard grievances of the local people against the project authorities.

The team, comprising NEAA chairman J.C. Kala visited the site of the run-of-the-river 195 MW project to assess the environment damage, if any, done by the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL), a state PSU executing the project.

The project will be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The HPPCL got the environment and forests ministry clearance in April this year.

Kala met the local people and recorded their statements. They had filed petitions with the NEAA after the environment impact assessment and environment management plan of the project were cleared.

Kala also visited the three tributaries from where the water would be fed through a tunnel to the integrated power house.

Counsel for the petitioners Anand Sharma said the HPPCL is violating environmental laws by indiscriminately felling highly-endangered pine trees and dumping debris haphazardly.

The NEAA is the only judicial body in the country allowed to hear grievances against environmental clearances given to projects by the union Environment and Forests Ministry.

Earlier, the NEAA has revoked the environment clearance granted to cement-maker Lafarge India for its greenfield project in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district.

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