Harish Rawat complains to Modi on hydroelectric projects

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in protest against the alleged unreasonable stance of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest regarding the hydroelectric projects of the state.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

 

Dehradun, December 15

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in protest against the alleged unreasonable stance of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest regarding the hydroelectric projects of the state.

Rawat in his letter wrote that Uttarakhand had great potential of hydroelectric power which could contribute to the energy security of the country, a matter which has been given the highest priority by the present Union Government led by Narendra Modi.

However, the Chief Minister alleged that unfortunately the state was being subjected to an unfair and unjust treatment by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests without applying any scientific and rational approach to the issue of hydroelectric development. He feared that this could lead to stoppage of all critical hydroelectric projects and may adversely affect the energy security of the country.

He wrote that the Supreme Court in its order on August 13, 2013, had directed not to issue any forest clearance for any hydroelectric project in the state till further orders and review the issue within a timeframe of three months. He charged that the Union Environment and Forest Ministry constituted an expert body without consulting Uttarakhand government which was against the Supreme Court orders. He further said that even after 16 months, MoEF has failed to reach a firm conclusion. Rawat said that MoEF requested on December 5, 2013, for further extension of 12 months to submit the report with some additional members in the experts group.

Harish Rawat said that the report submitted by the ministry is biased and lacks scientific evidence base, due to which two apex bodies, Central Water Commission and Central Electricity Authority have rejected the report and withdrawn from the expert group and submitted an independent report on the matter. “This delay by MoEF has resulted into stoppage of all developmental activities in Uttarakhand with respect to even duly sanctioned project by the Government of India and further created a situation of no hope for the developers.”

The Chief Minister said that he had met the Union Environment and Forest Minister and taken up the issue with all the concerned officials but to no avail. He requested the Prime Minister to allow construction of projects which are already sanctioned and allow sanction to hydroelectric projects as per the guidelines applied in other states. He said that Uttarakhand should be treated at par with other Himalayan states regarding the clearance of hydroelectric projects and there should not be any discrimination against the state. He said that the Supreme Court has only stayed the projects in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi valleys and other sanctioned projects should be allowed.

He requested the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and direct the MoEF to consult the reports of other scientific organisations and bodies before submitting its report to the Supreme Court. Uttarakhand Chief Minister also demanded that the state should be adequately compensated for the delay in constructing these projects by the MoEF.

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