Supreme Court asks Centre to apprise it on six hydro-power projects

New Delhi(PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to apprise it of the findings of an inter- ministerial committee, which was set up to look into an expert panel’s report giving clearance to six hydro-power projects to be built on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in Uttarakhand.

Supreme Court

A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit, asked the government to submit the report of the committee comprising Ministries of Environment and Forest, Power and Water Resources by January five.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Narsimha, appearing for the Centre, said the inter-ministerial panel was set up on November 23 to look into the report of an 11-member experts panel on the pending hydro-power projects in the hill state.

The experts panel had prepared the environment and ecological impact report of these projects.

“In view of the aforesaid statement made by the ASG, we list the matter for January 20 for further hearing. Union of India shall apprise the court about the final decision,” the bench said.

Earlier, the court had granted time to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for filing “comprehensive” environment and ecological impact report of 18, out of total 24 hydroelectric power projects, to be set up in Uttarakhand.

The MoEF, in its one of the reports, had said that six, out of 24 power projects, have substantially complied with legal requirements.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the parties, opposed the government’s recent decision.

The bench, during the hearing, asked Bhushan and advocates Sanjay Parekh and Colin Gonsalves to file “objections to the final report” within two weeks.

MoEF has formed the 11 member committee to assess the cumulative impact of hydroelectric projects (HEPs) in upper reaches of River Ganga in Uttarakhand which had come under scrutiny after the June 2013 Uttarakhand floods.