Hydroelectric NHPC_ProjectsMonitorNHPC has requested the environment ministry to reconsider the forest clearance proposal for its 520 MW Kotli Bhel-II hydroelectric project.

The Forest clearance proposals of KotliBhel Stage – IB and Kotli Bhel Stage II projects have not been recommended by Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) on the basis of findings of the studies conducted by Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. The environment ministry also declined permission for diversion of Forest land for construction of the projects in July 2011. NHPC has been taking up the issue of reconsideration of Forest clearance of these projects since August 2011.

It was decided in the FAC meeting in December 2012 that these projects can be considered after consideration of the report of the Inter Ministerial Group headed by B.K. Chaturvedi. The Group has submitted its report in April 2013. The recommendations of the report are under consideration in the environment ministry. The main recommendations of the IMG is on maintaining environmental flow, which is 20 per cent to 50 per cent of the daily un-interrupted river flow during various seasons from the hydro power projects.

However, it is mentioned in the report that Kotlibhel-II has not been included in the study as project is located on main Ganga River. Accordingly, NHPC has requested the environment ministry to reconsider the project for the forest clearance.

Meanwhile, the Central Electricity Authority has extended the validity of the concurrence of Kotli Bhel-II project up to November 29, 2014. Apart from CEA concurrence, environment and defence clearance for the project are also available.

In its various follow-ups, NHPC has stated that the environment ministry has cleared similar proposal in the same region for another hydro power project which was earlier rejected on grounds similar to that of NHPC. Further, substantial effort and money was invested by NHPC on survey and investigation works for the project, it mentions.

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