Hydro Power Projects

2022: Environment & Forest Clearances to Dams, Hydro, Irrigation Projects

On the basis of minutes of meetings held by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change’s (MoEF) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley and Hydropower Projects from January 12, 2022 to November 30, 2022; we present region wise details of various Dams, Hydroelectric Power (HEP), Pumped Storage Hydro Projects (PSHP) and Irrigation Projects proposals considered and approved for Terms of Reference (TOR) and Environment Clearance (EC) by the EAC. It also lists out various water projects related proposals seeking Forest Clearances (FC) from and decisions by the Forest Appraisal Committee (FAC) of MoEF in this period.

SANDRP’s 2020 and 2021 overviews on the subject can be seen by clicking the links. You may also like to visit our 2022 overviews on (1) Dam induced floods & damages, (2) Fly ash dam breach incidents, (3) Impact of floods on Polavaram project, (4) People’s resistance against dams and hydro projects, (5) Disasters and accidents at HEPs sites, (6) Dam Safety Issues, (7) Hydro projects opposition and accidents in South Asia.

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Hydro Power Projects

2022: Hydro Power Projects Disasters, Damages & Concerns in South Asia

(Feature Image:- The residential quarters established alongside the Ichar Nullah by the Chinese workers of the Dasu hydropower project were swept away along with their machinery, trucks and dumpers in the swollen nullah. Image: Pamir Times, Text:Dawn. Aug. 2022)

In addition to India, the local people in Himalayan countries of South Asia have been resisting against the hydro power projects. These countries have also been facing accidents and disasters caused by the hydro power projects. At the same time, the increasing construction as well as operational cost and climate change threats have been making the future of hydro power projects risky and uncertain in the region. This annual overview highlights the hydro power projects related accidents, disasters and concerns in South Asian countries. 

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Dams · Hydro Power Projects

2022: People’s Resistance against Unviable HEPs, Destructive Dams

(Feature Image: No Means No Campaign message against hydro projects on a rock in Kinnaur. Source: ToI)

There have been many instances of opposition by local people, organizations and experts against unviable hydroelectric power (HEP) and destructive dam projects in 2022. Such instances of the resistance from across the country have been successful in a number of ways including leading to the funding agencies, corporate houses and government agreeing to withdraw from the project in many cases. This overview presents top ten stories highlighting successful opposition to hydro and dams projects in 2022 in India followed by some relevant reports on the issue. In first part of the annual overview, SANDRP has tracked the dam failures and dam induced floods incidents in India in 2022, along with separate report on unraveling of Polavaram project and another one on breaches of fly ash dams.

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Beas · Dams · Environment · Environment Impact Assessment · Environmental Flow · Fish · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Free flowing rivers · Gharat · Himachal Pradesh · Hydropower · Rivers

Muktadhara Tirthan

How one fish and many people saved a river

“Hark! What is that? What is that sound? It is laughter, bubbling up from the heart of the darkness. It is the sound of water! There is no doubt. The water of Muktadhara is free!”

As I stepped on the wooden slats across the joyously gurgling Tirthan River, I remembered Rabindranath Tagore’s lines from his first play, Muktadhara (Free-flowing). I was in the Himalayas to listen to the story of Tirthan, a Muktadhara in her own right! Tirthan is the rarest, possibly the only river valley in India to be declared as a “No-Go Valley” for hydropower or dam development, protected in perpetuity.

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Ganga · Hydropower · Uttarakhand

Open Letter to PM on Uttarakhand Hydro in Sept 2021

Open Letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Environment and media on 09/09/2021:
Restarting seven under-construction hydro projects in Ganga Himalaya unjustified

Recently the MoEF&CC has recommended restarting the construction of seven under-construction HEPs  in Uttarakhand namely Tehri II (1000 MW), Tapovan Vishnugad (520 MW), Vishnugad Pipalkoti (444 MW), Singoli Bhatwari (99 MW), Phata Byung (76 MW), Madhmaheshwar (15 MW), and Kaliganga II  (4.5 MW). The news came as a shock to citizens, devotees and environmentalists who have been struggling  since over a decade to preserve our national river Ganga and the Himalaya. The deeply felt concern over  the fate of these two pivotal ecological systems and defining symbols of Indian culture, compel us to write  this letter. Not the least, as a citizen, it is also our constitutional duty ‘to protect and improve India’s natural  environment’.

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Climate Change · Hydropower

Don’t Use Climate Funds for Hydro Projects: 300 organisations from 69 countries to UN & govts at COP26

A landmark Global declaration titled “RIVERS FOR CLIMATE” was launched on Sept 21, 2021, endorsed already by 300 organisations from 69 countries calling on governments and leaders attending COP26 (Conference of Parties meeting 26) to protect river ecosystems and stop using scarce climate funds to finance false climate solutions such as hydropower. Representing the views of civil society, peoples movements, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, scientists, and conservationists, the declaration called out the proliferation schemes being peddled under an erroneous pretense of sustainability.

“Hydropower is not clean energy. We’re at an unprecedented moment in history; facing the triple threats of a runaway climate crisis, large-scale biodiversity loss, and a global pandemic,” said Chris Wilke, Global Advocacy Manager for Waterkeeper Alliance. “We simply cannot waste time, funding, and scarce resources on false solutions that distract us from what is really needed to address the multiple crises we face.”

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Expert Appraisal Committee · Hydropower · Uttarakhand

Ltr to Expert Appraisal Committee on Env Clearance for 120 MW Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP in Uttarakhand

                                                                                                                              Date: 12.4.2021

To:
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley Projects,
Ministry of Environment and Forest Officials, Government of India

1. Dr. K. Gopakumar (Chairman), Professor, Department of Electronic Systems
Engineering (Formerly CEDT), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-12. e-mail Id:
kgopa@iisc.ac.in

2. Dr. N. Lakshman, Professor, Dept. of Applied Mechanics, National Institute of
Technology Karnataka, Surathkal Srinivasnagar, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
575025. e-mail Id: lnand@rocketmail.com

3. Dr. Mukesh Sharma Professor, Civil Engg. Department, IIT Kanpur, Kanpur
208016, India. e-mail Id: mukesh@iitk.ac.in

4. Dr. B.K. Panigrahi, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Head, Centre
for Automotive Research and Tribology, (CART), IIT Delhi, New Delhi-110016, email Id: bijayaketan.panigrahi@gmail.com

5. Dr. Chandrahas Deshpande, Professor (Economics), Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra. e-mail Id:chandrahas.despande@welingkar.com

6. Dr. A.K. Malhotra, C-6, Subhavna Niketan, Road No. 41, Pitampura, New Delhi –110 034. e-mail Id: ajitkumarmalhotra463@gmail.com

7. Dr. Uday Kumar R. Y. Director, Malviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur. Email Id: udaykumarry@yahoo.com, director@mnit.ac.in

8. Dr. Narayan Shenoy K. Associate Director (Student Welfare) Professor, Department of Civil Engineering M.I.T., Manipal – 576 104. e-mail Id: kn.shenoy@manipal.edu

9. Shri Balraj Joshi Former CMD NHPC Ltd. Flat No. 406, Urja Vihar, Sector-45, Faridabad-10. e-mail Id: balrajjoshi@hotmail.com, balrajjoshi@gmail.com

10.Nominated Member of CEA Representative of Central Electricity Authority (CEA),Sewa Bhawan, R.K. Puram, Sector-I, New Delhi-110 066. e-mail Id: Dirhpa3@gmail.com

11. Shri Amrendra Kumar Singh, Chief Engineer, CWC, Representative of CentralWater Commission (CWC), Sewa Bhawan, R.K. Puram, New Delhi 110 066. e-mailId: ceenvtmgmt@nic.in

12.Shri A.K. Johnson, Representative of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Post BoxNo.18, Chandrbani, Dehradun- 248001, e-mail Id: jaj@wii.gov.in

13.Dr. B. K. Das / Shri Amiya Sahoo, Representative of Central Inland FisheriesResearch Institute (CIFRI), Barrakpore, 700120 West Bengal e-mail Id: amiya.sahoo@icar.gov.in, amiya7@gmail.com

14.Shri Vijay Kumar, Representative of Ministry of Earth Sciences, Prithvi Bhawan, IMD Campus, Opp. India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003. e-mail Id: vijay.kumar66@nic.in

15.Dr. S. Kerketta, Director IA – 1, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, New Delhi – 110003. e-mail Id: s.kerketta66@gov.in

16.Dr. Mohit Saxena, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change · ImpactAssessment, Ph.D, Scientist/ Deputy Director, MoEF&CC, GoI, e-mail Id: mohit.saxena@gov.in

17. Shri Yogendra Pal Singh, Member Secretary EAC

Regarding Environmental Clearance being sought by UJVNL for the 120 MW Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP on the Gori river, Uttarakhand.

Dear Chairman and Members of the EAC,

UJVNL has sought Environmental Clearance for a proposed 120 MW HEP on the Gori river in Uttarakhand, and a final draft EIA is under consideration for approval by the Expert Appraisal Committee. We, citizens of Uttarakhand and other parts of the country are appalled that such a proposal for Environmental clearance should be submitted to you as a final draft. Not only because of its lack of critical information on the most important aspects required by the TOR, but also for providing false information to you, and most importantly, because of its attempt to obscure hazards and environmental impacts. The procedural flaws include 1. The lack of spatio-temporal coverage of the assessment, 2. The lack of standard methodology in assessing ecological and geo-hydrological parameters, and 3. Factual errors and information plagiarized from other reports.

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Hydropower

2021 International Day of Action for Rivers: Opposition against HEPs, dams in India

(Feature image source:-A Sikkim tribe trying to save ‘paradise’ from woes of development.)

March 14 is International Day of Action for Rivers, against destructive projects. The main objective is to ensure that the river people have their say in the decision-making processes which affect their rivers and related livelihoods sources and that the decisions are informed decisions.

Here we are bringing forth the struggles of riverine communities in India in past one year to make decision makers aware of their hardships and impacts of destructive hydro and dam projects on the riverine eco-system.     

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Hydropower

Judicial Interventions in Hydro Projects in India in 2020

This report is about the interventions by various judicial bodies in India in the hydro power projects related issues in 2020. This also covers judicial decisions either delaying the justice or facilitating the projects thus unhelpful for the public interest cause and paving way for financially unviable and environmentally destructive projects. The account first looks at judicial interventions at the National level and then in states in North, North East and South Zones. 

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Arunachal Pradesh · brahmaputra · China · Dams · Hydropower

Why is India not demanding TEIA for the Great Bend Hydro proposal of China?

While one can never be too sure what is the exact meaning of Chinese whispers, a thoughtful response has to take into account the available facts and the context. This report tries to take stock of available facts and context of this latest episode that started at the end of November 2020 and is still going on: China’s proposed massive hydropower project on the Great Bend of Yarlung Tsangpo River just before the river enters India as Siang, a tributary of Brahmaputra river. It also reviews the key media reports published on this issue.

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