State gives conditional NOC for dams

SHIMLA: Even though Himachal has yielded to Centre’s demand of issuing NOC to pave the way for the setting up of Renuka, Lakhwar and Kishau dams to meet the growing water needs of Delhi but not without laying conditions to ensure its share of water under the agreement.

State gives conditional NOC for dams

The Renuka lake in Sirmaur, 166 km from Shimla. Photo: Amit Kanwar

editorial@tribune.com

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 10

Even though Himachal has yielded to Centre’s demand of issuing NOC to pave the way for the setting up of Renuka, Lakhwar and Kishau dams to meet the growing water needs of Delhi but not without laying conditions to ensure its share of water under the agreement.

The Cabinet at its meeting held here on Thursday agreed to issue the NOC but on the condition that Himachal would be allowed to draw its share from a convenient site and not having to spend extra to ferry the water from a distant place. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is very keen that there is no further delay and the NOCs are issued by all the seven partner states of Delhi, Rajasthan HP, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

“We have agreed to give conditional NOC as long as Himachal is allowed to draw its share of water from the Yamuna downstream of Renuka dam or from the sub basins of Giri, Pabbar or Tons,” said Vineet Chawdhry, Chief Secretary about Himachal’s stand. The setting up of the 40 MW Renuka Dam has been delayed for the past so many years despite it being accorded status of project of national importance as it will cater to the growing water needs of Delhi.

The proposal for the setting up of three projects - Renuka in Sirmaur district of Himachal and Lakhwar and Kishau in Uttrakhand has been hanging for the last many years as the partner states of Delhi, Rajasthan HP, Haryana, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh are reluctant to issue the NOCs as per water sharing agreement. Each state is apprehensive about the share of water that it will receive under the agreement.

Under the water sharing proposal, Himachal is entitled to 0.378 billion cubic metres of water annually. However, the hill state is concerned that it might be asked to make provision of transporting water either from Lakhwar in Uttarakhand or some other distant place for which a lot of expenditure will have to be made. It is to address this concern that the Cabinet decided to provide a conditional NOC.

As far as Himachal is concerned, the cost of the 40 MW Renuka projects has escalated to over Rs 4,000 crore. Himachal, which is a power surplus state, does not stand to gain much from the project but for the needs of Delhi and the National capital region (NCR). Delhi has already provided Rs 200 crore for rehabilitating the oustees.

“A payment of Rs 400 crores will have to be made for catchment treatment for Renuka and the Centre is yet to provide this money,” said Tarun Kapoor, Additional Chief Secretary, Power, Forest and Environment.

Project of national importance

The setting up of the 40 MW Renuka Dam has been delayed for the past so many years despite it being accorded the status of project of national importance as it will cater to the growing water needs of Delhi.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is very keen that there is no further delay and the NOCs are issued by all the seven partner states of Delhi, Rajasthan HP, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

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