Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 10
The fate of as many as 44 small hydropower projects of 827 mw capacity is uncertain. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has not cleared even a single project since 2014. This has angered independent power producers (IPPs) as the ministry seems to have mocked the Government of India’s national mission aiming at tapping 500 mw small hydropower projects in the next three years.
The ministry has refused to give forest clearance to the projects on the ground that the independent power producers have failed to get non-forest land for compensatory afforestation as the wasteland in Himachal is forest land as per the 1952 notification and as such, there is no non-forest land in the state.
The power producers, on the other hand, are awaiting the PMO’s reply. “The ministry should allow compensatory afforestation on the available barren and wasteland as it will serve the same purpose. About 67 per cent areas in the state come under forest land,” they said. Transmission corridors, roads and ropeways have met the same fate. “The projects have been delayed as certain officials tweak rules to delay these,” the developers rued.
The independent power producers have come under the banner of Bona Fide Himachalis Hydropower Developers Association to air their woes. The developers should be allowed to run the transmission lines without acquiring the entire private land under the right of way.
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