Panel suggests clearance for Luhri hydel project in HP

Despite facing opposition from environment groups, 775-MW Luhri hydel project, proposed at Satluj river in the downstream of 1500-MW Nathpa Jhakri hydel project, is set to get environment clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

According to Himdhara, an umbrella action group of bodies, including Satluj Bachao Jan Sangharsh Samiti, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on river valley projects of the ministry has recommended for environment clearance to the project. The report was sent to the ministry on November 23, 2012.

Following this, Himdhara wrote to Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanti Natrajan opposing the clearance. "In a series of letters and submissions made to the EAC, we had repeatedly pointed out the serious implications of the project on the local environment and livelihood," the letter stated.

Himdhara also claimed that details of the 78 villages to be affected by the 38-km twin tunnels were not even included in the report. The letter added that 78 or more villages on the right bank of the river would permanently lose their natural sources of water for drinking and irrigation.

Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal on January 23 had directed the Himachal government to pass orders for diversion of forest land under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act-1980 for non-forest use in case of 180-MW Bajoli Holi project of GMR Energy, in Chamba district.

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