Expert Appraisal Committee

EAC and FAC Decisions on Hydro Projects during 2020

(Feature image: Yamuna river at Lakhwar dam site, April 2019. Bhim Singh Rawat/SANDRP)

Details of proposals related to hydro power projects discussed by Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley Projects during Dec 2019-Feb. 2021

SNProject NameCapacity (in Mw)DeveloperDistrict StateRiver BasinDateProposalDecision
HIMACHAL PRADESH
1Sutlej basin Cumulative Impact Assessment and Carrying Capacity Study of HEPs including less than 10 MW projects.NANAHimachal PradeshSutlej26 Dec. 2019CIAApproved[i]
2Integrated Kashang HEP243HPPCLKinnaur Himachal PradeshKashang/ Sutlej15 May 2020Extension of validity of ECProject Proponent absent
24 June 2020Not Required!
3Dugar HEP449 NHPCLChamba Himachal PradeshChenab/ Indus24 June 2020For ToRApproved
4Dugar HEP449 NHPCLChamba Himachal PradeshChenab/ Indus2 Dec 2020For amendment in ToRApproved
20 Jan. 2021
5Jangi Thopan Powari HEP804 SJVNLKinnaur Himachal PradeshSutlej31 Aug. 2020For ToRApproved
6Shongtong-Karcham HEP450HPPCLKinnaur Himachal PradeshSutlej 31 Aug. 2020For revalidation of install capacity vis-à-vis Satluj River Basin StudyDeferred
29 Oct. 2020Project Proponent absent
7Gyspa Hydro Power Project300 HPPCLLahaul Spiti Himachal PradeshBhaga/ Indus02 Dec. 2021For ToRMore Info Sought
8Luhri HEP-1210 Shimla, Himachal PradeshSutlej07 Feb. 2021For amendment in ECApproved
9Reoli Dugli HEP430 SJVNLLahaul Spiti Himachal PradeshChenab/ Indus07 Feb. 2021For ToRApproved
10Bardang BHEP175SJVNLLahaul Spiti Himachal PradeshChenab/ Indus07 Feb. 2021For ToRApproved
11Purthi HEP232SJVNLChamba Himachal PradeshChenab/ Indus07 Feb. 2021For ToRApproved
UTTARAKHAND
12Jakhol Sankri HEP44SJVNLUttarkashi UttarakhandYamuna26 Dec. 2019For ECApproved
13Sela Urthing HEP230UJVNLPithorgarh UttarakhandDhauliganga/ Sarda05 March 2020For ToRApproved
14Sela Urthing HEP202UJVNLPithorgarh UttarakhandDhauliganga/ Sarda29 July 2020For ToRApproved
15Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP120UJVNLPithorgarh UttarakhandGauriganga/ Sarda29 July 2020For ToRApproved
16Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP120UJVNLPithorgarh UttarakhandGauriganga/ Sarda07 Feb. 2021For ECMore info sought
17Vishnugad Pipalkoti HEP444THDC Chamoli UttarakhandAlaknanda29 July 2020For ToRApproved
18Lakhwar Multipurpose Project300UJVNLTehri Garhwal UttarakhandYamuna02 Dec. 2020For ECApproved
NORTH EAST INDIA
19Demwe Lower HEP1750Athena Demwe Power Pvt. LtdLohit, Arunachal PradeshLohit/ Brahmaputra05 March 2020For ECApproved
20Rongnichu HEP115Madhya Bharat Power Corp LtdGangtok, SikkimRongnichu/ Teesta29 July 2020For ECDeferred
21Simsang Dam Project65 East Garo Hills, MeghalayaSimsang02 Dec. 2020For ToRApproved
EAST INDIA
22Rammam-III HEP120NTPCDarjeeling W BengalRammam/ Teesta15 May 2020  Extension of validity of ECAsked to apply for fresh EC[ii]
23Rammam-III HEP120NTPCDarjeeling W BengalRammam/ Teesta29 July 2020For ToRApproved
24Teesta Intermediate HEP930 (2×30+2×15)W Bengal State Electricity Distribution CompanyW BengalTeesta07 Feb. 2021For ToRApproved
25Dagmara Multipurpose Hydropower Project130Bihar-State Hydro-Electric Power Corp.Supaul, BiharKosi27 Jan. 2020For ToRApproved
26Shaheed Lakhan Nayak SHEP25Meenakshi Odisha Power Pvt LtdKoraput, OdishaKolab (SAbari)/ Godavari05 March 2020For ToRApproved
SOUTH INDIA
27Saundatti HEP Integrated Renewable Energy with Pumped Storage Project1200Greenko Solar Energy Pvt. Ltd.Belgaum, KarnatakaMalaprabha/ Krishna29 Oct. 2020For ECApproved
28Completion of Balance Works of Two Units at Lower Sileru Hydro Power House and Improvement of Power Canal Works230 (2×115)V. Surya LakshmiEast Godavari, Andhra PradeshGodavari02 Dec. 2020For ToRApproved
29Sillahalla Pumped Storage HEP-I1000 (4×250)TN Gen & Distribution CorpNilgiris, Tamil NaduSillahalla26 July 2020For ToRApproved
30Kundah Pumped Storage HEP500 (125×4)TN Gen & Distribution CorpNilgiris, Tamil NaduKundah02 Dec. 2020For ECMore Info Sought
20 Jan. 2021For ECApproved

EC: Environmental Clearances, ToR: Terms of References; NA: Not Applicable

Between Dec. 26, 2019 and Feb. 7, 2021, the EAC on River Valley Projects held 11 meetings. In this period EAC considered about 30 proposals of hydro projects (non-hydro projects considered by the EAC were additional to this number). Of these 11 proposals were from Himachal Pradesh and 7 from Uttarakhand. The EAC approved ToR to 16 projects and ECs to 5 projects. It also approved amendments in
ToR and EC of one project each and also approved the Sutlej Basin Cumulative Impact Assessment in Himachal Pradesh. About proposal for extension of validity of the Kashang Hydro project in HP, the EAC controversially decided that it is not required! Some projects for which the EAC decision is deferred for want of more information include: Validity of Installed capacity for Shongtong Karcham, ToR for Gyaspa Hydro project, EC for Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabaghar HEP, Rongnichu HEP.  For Rammam III HEP in W Bengal, EAC asked the project to apply for the EC afresh. The meetings dates and links of proposal discussed is given below.

SNEAC MeetingLinks
126 Dec. 2019http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/261220193FSH2QF929.pdf  
227 Jan. 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/21022020I24YMGJ230.pdf 
35 March 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/200320206F8JBC6N31.pdf 
415 May 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/30052020EU1CLA1T32EAC.pdf
524 June 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/1007202019HCQ4QA33.pdf
629 July 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/07082020V6OE5PKR1stEACMoM.pdf
731 Aug. 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/01102020W1QIGJVE2ndMoM.pdf
829 Oct. 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/11112020KU3MG7AN3rdEACRiverMoM.pdf
92 Dec. 2020http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/17122020I4SYXARI4thEACRVHEPMoM.pdf
1020 Jan. 2021http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/28012021UZ80QY68Approved_MoM6thEAC_RiverValley.pdf
117 Feb. 2021http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/18022021CAO72PG4ApprovedMOM_7thEAC_RVHEP.pdf 

Details of hydro and dam projects considered by FAC for forest clearances in 2020

SNProject NameCapacity (in Mw)DeveloperDistrict/ StateRiver BasinDateProposalDecision
1Talong Londa HEP225 (3×75)GMR Londa Hydro Power Pvt. LtdKameng/ Arunachal PradeshKameng/ Brahma- putra27 Feb. 2020For diversion of 280.54 ha forest landDeferred
2Etalin HEP3097Etalin Hydro-Electric Power CompanyDibang Valley Arunachal PradeshDri, Talo/ Dibang23 April 2020For diversion for 1165.66 Ha of forest landDeferred
3Pauk HEP145Heo Hydro Power Pvt LtdWest Siang Arunachal PradeshYarjep/ Siang11 June 2020Additional forest area of 0.6 ha and re appropriation of 4.2 ha forest area from already diverted forest area (PH & Barrage Quarry of 0.5 ha and Muck Access road of 3.7 ha) and to surrender 0.6 ha forest area in respect of Heo HEP (240 MW)Approved
4Tato-I HEP186Siyota Hydro Power Pvt LtdWest Siang Arunachal PradeshYarjep/ Siang11 June 20200.8 ha forest land and to surrender equal forest land from already diverted 52.8 ha forest area (surface forest land-47.1 ha, riverbed-2.3 ha & underground area-2.8 ha) -change in location of PH quarry site of 0.5 ha.Approved
5Bajoli- Holi HEP180GMR Bajoli Holi Hydro Power Pvt. LtdChamba/ Himachal PradeshRavi/ Indus27 Feb. 2020Diversion of 75.304 ha of forest land in Bharmour Forest Division. Permission for felling of additional 12 trees and use of non-diverted degraded/blank forest land in lieu of diverted dense forest land of almost equal area.Approved
6Luhri HEP Stage-I172SJVNLKullu/ Himachal PradeshSutlej11 June 2020Additional area of 0.9486 ha (in addition to the already diverted 98.1004 ha) of forest land for approach road under the jurisdiction of Ani at Luhri Forest DivisionState Govt to examine 3 alternatives and provide compliance of the conditions of earlier approval.
7Ujh Multipurpose HEP186JKSPDCKathua/ J&KUjh/ Ravi22 Dec. 2020680.1 ha (instead of 1100 ha.) of Forest landApproved
8Shahpurkandi Dam206JKSPDCKathua/ J&KRavi 13.24 ha forest landApproved

In 2020, FAC considered 8 proposals giving approvals to 5 proposals while deferring 3. Dates and links of relevant FAC meetings held in 2020 are given in table below.

SNDateLinks
127 Feb.http://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/31130125512101DraftFACMoM27022020.pdf
223 Aprilhttp://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/51111121912211FACminutes23April20_compressed.pdf
311 Junehttp://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/7116124112131MoMofFACheldon11June2020.pdf
422 Dec.http://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/111181233121111515_1610947481346.pdf 

Post Script:- There have been some relevant development regarding functioning and governing of EAC which are being given as below.

MoEF EAC to fast track appraisal process A letter on Nov 11 from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s (MoEF&CC) Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) division, that coordinates Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) meetings, issued fresh guidelines to accelerate the appraisal process.

The recommendations include ensuring that EAC meetings are held at least once in 15 days. All proposals that were placed for approval 10 days before a meeting ought to be considered (It is 15 days now). “The queries or issues, which the division may have, should be raised during the EAC meeting only. Member Secretary (MS) ought to ensure that the relevant queries of the division are also pointed out at the time of EAC meetings itself so as to avoid occasion for such queries before and after examination by EAC,” the missive notes. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar has said he’s committed to bringing down the time required for clearance down to less than 100 days.

Kanchi Kohli said it was legally contentious if an office order could curtail the role of the EAC that requires detailed scrutiny of applications seeking environmental clearance. “What is even more concerning is the Environment Ministry’s approach to reading down its own mandate for environment protection. Accelerated approvals definitely don’t allow for good environmental decisions and do not necessitate that projects will be up and running to support an already sluggish economy. Our current approval rates are close to 100%, and yet there is an economic slowdown,” she said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-to-fast-track-green-nod/article33163541.ece  (23 Nov. 2020)

Real Worries about EAC’s on River Valley Projects In this Guest Article, well known Supreme Court lawyer RITWICK DUTTA writes that the MoEF’s new office memorandum on Nov 18, 2020, that mandates its expert appraisal committee (EAC) to meet “at least” twice every month to “cut down the time” for environmental clearances (ECs). However, real question is who are the chair and members of the EAC, for example, of River Valley Projects, what expertise they have and how they are selected. Plz Read, Share. https://sandrp.in/2020/11/30/the-real-worries-about-moefs-expert-committee-on-river-valley-projects/  (30 Nov. 2020)

EAC on River Valley Green Signals All in 2019  Even as the EAC on River Valley Projects (RVP) appointed by MoEF in December 2016 completes three years with the end of 2019, it has kept up its record of green signalling everything that came its way in 2019, with one exception: EAC in its meeting on January 28, 2019 rejected the proposal for EC extension for the Brutang Major Irrigation Project in Nayagarh District of Odisha, but it was essentially on procedural issue and the EAC “recommended for taking of the proposal afresh”, so it was not a full stop, but only a comma. https://sandrp.in/2019/12/31/expert-appraisal-committee-on-river-valley-projects-green-signals-all-in-2019/  (31 Dec. 2019) 

Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

End Notes:-


[i] EAC minutes does not say that explicitly

[ii] Extension of validity of EC granted on Aug 17, 2007: 13 yrs will be over on Aug 16, 2020, rules do not allow further extension, apply de novo for fresh EC

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