New Delhi, November 23
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today reserved its verdict on a petition questioning the logic behind going ahead with the proposed Rs 5,242 crore Renuka Dam project ignoring the environmental consequences.
A 4-member Bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar passed the order at the conclusion of arguments spread over 54 hearings.
Arguing for the state government, senior advocate JS Attri pointed out that the Supreme Court had passed an order last month, observing that that the “project cannot be allowed to be killed by any kind of apathy or indifference.”
Attri also said the state had already acquired the land required for the project and taken possession of 60 per cent of it by paying the compensation amount.
In its October 14 order, the SC also advised the authorities concerned to focus their attention and work towards completion of the project instead of taking an obstructionist stance.
The Centre declared it as a national project in 2009. Attri said the state had spent about Rs 270 crore so far – Rs 166 crore for acquiring land, Rs 29 crore for relocation and rehabilitation of the project oustees and Rs 25.5 crore on survey and related work, besides incurring overhead expenses of Rs 48 crore.
The dam is primarily meant for providing water to Delhi as per its entitlement from the Yamuna. The project will come up across the Giri river, a tributary of the Yamuna, in Sirmaur district. HP also has a stake in the project as it will get 40 mw of electricity from the project free of cost.
The pipeline from the dam to Delhi could also be utilised for sharing the Yamuna water with other riparian states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The SC has said it will not quash any acquisition of land meant for the project.
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