Government misses SC deadline to file affidavit on six hydel projects

Government misses SC deadline to file affidavit on six hydel projects
Government misses SC deadline to file affidavit on six hydel projects
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|The News Minute | March 12, 2015 | 4:15 p.m. IST |

The Supreme Court has asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to portray “the correct picture” regarding the need for hydel projects in Uttarakhand. The Ministry has failed to produce the affidavit before the SC that would secure clearances for the projects.

The Ministry had earlier rejected its own panel’s recommendations, which advised against going ahead with the six projects.

According to the Indian Express the Supreme Court had asked the Ministry on December 16 to look into the status of the hydel projects, which were awaiting clearances like 18 other projects for the Upper Ganga region.

At the next hearing on February 17, the ministry is reported to have said that the projects had the procedural and substantive requirements necessary for clearances.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reportedly told the court on behalf of the ministry that “an affidavit is ready” and that the projects “are worthy of clearance”.

The report mentions that this was in contrast with the expert committee’s recommendations which said that the “the six projects may not be taken up as they have potential of causing significant impacts on the bio-diversity, riverine system, wildlife and other fragile eco-systems in the areas where these projects are located due to altered (by 2013 floods) hydrological parameters”.

The Ministry also reportedly did not share this information with the court, which asked for a ready affidavit within four days. The Ministry hadn’t produced the affidavit until Wednesday.

The Express also reports that the Ministry is in a fix after informing the SC in December that dams aggravated the 2013 floods in Uttarakhand It was also reportedly told to expedite the process at a PMO meeting in January.

The expert committee, which included Vinod Tare of IIT-Kanpur, V B Mathur of Wildlife Institute of India, Brijesh Sikka of National River Conservation Directorate and Dalel Singh of the NHR, rejected the proposals for the six dams in its report on February 12.

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