Chenab · Jammu and Kashmir

Massive Kwar and Kiru HEPs on Chenab, J and K : Poor quality & cut paste EIAs, flawed public hearing

It seems we do not want to learn any lessons from the massive Uttarakhand disaster of June 2013. Two more huge capacity hydropower projects have been submitted to the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) for grant of Environmental Clearance (EC) with very poor quality Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (EIA) reports.

EIA reports of Kiru Hydro Electric Project (HEP) (660MW) and Kwar HEP (560 MW) proposed in Kishtwar district, Jammu and Kashmir by Chenab Valley Power Projects Ltd. (CVPP) were submitted to the EAC for River for its 74th meeting held on 5-6 May, 2014 for grant of EC. The projects are run-of-river schemes proposed on river Chenab as a part of cascade development of Chenab basin.

Vicinity Map

Vicinity Map (Source Kiru EIA Report)

 Partial map of Hydro Electric Projects on Chenab river basin

Partial Map of Commissioned and Proposed HEPs in Chenab River Basin (Map by SANDRP)

 

Chenab basin may have one of the highest concentrations of hydropower projects among all basins in India[1]. The basin has over 60 HEPs under various stages of planning, construction and commissioning in states of Himachal Pradesh (HP) and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

While 49 of these projects are planned or under construction in Chenab in HP, 28 projects of combined generation capacity of 5,800 MW are at an advanced stage of obtaining (Environment Ministry) clearances[2]. State of J&K has 13 projects planned of total capacity 8,623 to 8,923 MW. These consist of at least four operational projects (of total 1563.8 MW), three under construction projects (of 1450.5 MW) and six proposed projects (of 5608.7 MW).

Table 1: Cascade Development of Chenab Basin

Source: EIA report of Kiru & Kwar

Sr. No. Scheme River Capacity
1 Salal (Stage- I & II) Chenab 690 MW
2 Sawalkot Chenab 1856 MW
3 Baglhar (Stage-I & II) Chenab 900 MW
4 Shamnot Chenab 370 MW
5 Ratle Chenab 850 MW
6 Dulhasti Chenab 390 MW
7 Kwar Chenab 560 MW
8 Kiru Chenab 660 MW
9 Kirthai-I Chenab 350 MW
10 Kirthai-II Chenab 990 MW
11 Barinium Chenab 240 MW

Himalayan ecosystem, of which the Chenab river basin is a part, is known to be geologically fragile. Cascade of hydel projects proposed on the river basins of this region would make the region even more vulnerable to extreme and erratic weather events, which will increase in changing climate. This has already been witnessed during Uttarakhand disaster of June 2013. Expert Body (EB) headed by Dr Ravi Chopra recently has officially acknowledged this connection in the report submitted to MoEF[3]. In light of this, a thorough impact assessment of all the proposed hydro power projects in this region is thus of critical importance. Various organizations and experts including SANDRP have repeatedly highlighted the fact that Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) of all the proposed, under construction and operational projects and carrying capacity assessment (CCA) of the river basin to see if it can support the massive number of HEPs in safe and sustainable way is one of the first steps before considering clearances to HEPs in this region. Without such a study, considering any hydropower project in the basin will be an invitation to disaster[4].

Even though the MoEF sanctioned TORs for cumulative impact assessments of the HEPs on Chenab in HP in February 2012, this critical task was entrusted to the Directorate of Energy, Government of Himachal Pradesh. This is a clear case of conflict of interest. Further the project specific ECs were delinked from the CIAs[5].

More importantly, no such study has been initiated in Chenab basin in J&K or in the Chenab basin as a whole. State of Jammu and Kashmir is not even considering CIA of HEPs on Chenab in the state as MoEF has not asked for it yet. CIA of the entire Chenab basin including HP and J&K is not being considered, which itself is violating MoEFs Office Memorandum dated May 28 2013. The OM states that all states were to initiate carrying capacity studies within three months from the date of the OM No. J-11013/I/2013-IA-I. Since this has not happened in case of Chanab basin in J&K, considering any more projects in the basin for Environmental clearance will be in violation of the MoEF OM.

On Cumulative Impact Assessment, the OM said, “While, first project in a basin could come up without insisting on cumulative impact study, for all subsequent hydro-power projects in the basin, it should be incumbent on the developer of second/ other project(s) to incorporate all possible and potential impacts of the other project (s) in the basin to get a cumulative impact assessment done.” The EIA of both the projects does not include the cumulative impacts.

MoEF continues to give clearances to individual HEP projects despite of poor quality Project Feasibility Reports (PFRs) and EIA reports submitted for appraisal. Kiru & Kwar EIA reports are a classic example of such poorly conducted EIAs. The EIAs demonstrate several serious issues across various stages from TOR non-compliance, non assessment of impacts, cut and paste job, lack of any references, faulty public hearings, the issued raised at public hearings have not been addressed in EIAs, as statutorily required. SANDRP recently made detailed submissions to EAC highlighting these issues for both the projects. Some highlights below:

Copy paste job while preparing EIA reports Both the reports are prepared by a consortium of RS Envirolink Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Gurgaon) and Jammu University. Kiru EIA report demonstrates a casual approach towards impact prediction and proposing mitigation measures in EMP. The report also misses out on a number of important aspects of EIA like impact of construction activities on geology, flora fauna, impact of climate change, cumulative impacts of cascade development in Chenab basin etc. While Kiru EIA is inadequate on several fronts it was utterly shocking to discover that Kwar EIA report is a complete replica of the Kiru EIA Report. Entire text, save project specific numbers, remains the same in both reports, to the extent that the Kwar EIA report mentions Kiru instead of Kwar at several places!! The impact prediction for both the cases is so vague and generic that the changes in numbers for project-specific details like proposed installed capacity, submergence of reservoir, FRL, head race tunnels etc. do not reflect at all in the reports!

Brief Project Profiles Kiru H.E. Project and Kwar H.E. Project are run-of-river schemes proposed on river Chenab located in the district Kishtwar of J&K.

Kiru HEP envisages the construction of a 193 m long and 123 m high concrete gravity dam above the river bed across river Chenab at village Kiru with four intake, four pressure shafts, an underground powerhouse of 4 units of 165 MW each. Impoundment will cover an area of 1.03 Km extending 6.5 km upstream of dam. The average river bed level at the dam site is about EL 1394 m corresponding to an FRL of 1515 m, the gross storage of the reservoir is 41.50 Mcum and area under submergence is 1.03 Km.

Proposed dam site for Kiru HEP

Proposed dam site for Kiru HEP(Source Kiru EIA Report)

 Kwar HEP envisages construction of a concrete gravity dam 101 m high from river bed across river Chenab at village Padyarna, four number intakes, four pressure shafts, an underground powerhouse to accommodate 4 units of 140 MW each and two number tail race tunnel. FRL of reservoir is proposed at EI 1385M. Gross storage of the reservoir at FRL is 27.167 Mcum. The reservoir will submerge an area of about 0.8 Sq. Km at FRL.

Proposed dam site for Kwar HEP

Proposed dam site for Kwar HEP (Source Kwar EIA Report)

 TOR non-compliance First and foremost glaring issue about the proposed projects is the non-compliance with the TORs (Terms of Reference) laid down for conducting the EIA. These TORs were granted by MoEF. We have listed here only an indicative list of non compliance below, not an exhaustive one.

Kiru HEP The TOR clearance letter was issued for Kiru project on Sept 9, 2008, the TORs are valid for a period of 3 years, but the project developer never came back for extension of the TOR on expiry of 3 year period and has come now for EC over 5.5 years after the TOR clearance. Thus the TOR clearance is no longer valid for Kiru HEP as per the law. Also originally the TOR clearance for Kiru was given for 600 MW installed capacity. The EIA however has been conducted for 660 MW capacity. No permission was sought by the PP for this increased capacity.

Kwar project has undergone several changes since the grant of TOR on 17 March 2010. Table given below compares some of these changes. First and foremost alteration has been in the proposed total power generation. While the TORs were granted for 520 MW the EIA has been conducted for 560 MW. Number of affected families goes up by 160% and project cost escalates by 29%. The TORs were granted for over four years back and the project authority never got back to EAC/MoEF for renewal of the TOR as other projects do. Thus the TORs granted originally do not remain valid in this case too.

Table 2: Changes in the scope of Kwar project after grant of TOR on 17 March 2010
Sr. No. Parameter Scope at the time of TOR clearance Current scope of the Proposed Project
1 Total power Generation 520MW 560 MW
2 Land requirement 5 Ha Government land 93.66 Ha Government land
3 Power House Units 4 x 130 MW (4 x 140MW)
4 Affected families 35 91
5 Project Cost Rs 3386.11 Cr Rs. 4375.50 Crores at Jan’2012 PL

Casual approach towards impact prediction

 Kwar EIA copy pasted from Kiru EIA report: It is evident that the EIA consultants have done nothing but copy paste job while preparing Kwar EIA report. At certain places Kwar report mentions ‘Kiru’ instead of Kwar. See for example point number 1.7 in Index of Kwar EIA mentions ‘Need of the Kiru HE project’ instead of Kwar and point number 4.4 mentions ‘Basin characteristics of free draining area of Kiru HEP’ (p.3 & p.6 of the document). Page 28 of Kwar EIA states that “The case for forest clearance of Kiru HE Project for diversion of 29.75 ha of forest land has been approved in the 81st meeting of J&K State Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) held on 09.12.2013…”

Other than very project specific figures, the entire text for both the reports is exactly the same. Impact prediction is the heart of an EIA study. However in Kwar EIA report an important chapter like Chapter 8- “Identification, Prediction and Evaluation of Environmental Impacts” is also copy pasted. The text of the chapter is same as that of Chapter 8 from Kiru EIA report save the project specific numbers and their description. The impacts predicted are vague and are conveniently kept the same in both the reports. It is clear that no real field work or application of mind is done. Such an EIA study defeats the basic purpose of conducting an EIA.

Impact of construction activities: The Kiru project involves a reservoir of live storage 10.5 MCM, a concrete dam on height (from river bed) 123.0 M & length 193 M, construction of 4 head race tunnels (of 7 m dia and 165 to 190 m length each) for discharging the water to an underground powerhouse of 4 units of 165 MW each. The project also envisages 33.4 Lakh CuM of construction material required from the project site.

The Kwar project involves construction of 101 m (above river bed)/ 109 m (above deepest foundation) high concrete gravity dam, Underground power house complex of four units of 140 MW each, Two concrete lined 9.5 m internal diameter main tailrace tunnels (having length of 2676 m and 2883 m) amongst several other features like four 5.65 m internal diameter main pressure shafts (each with a length of 108-182 m), etc. The project also envisages 38.36 Lakh CuM of construction material required from the project site.

View of Naigarh Nala Rock Quarry at Kwar Dam site

View of Naigarh Nala Rock Quarry at Kwar Dam site (Source Kwar EIA Report)

 All these activities will have significant impact on the geology and hydrology of the region. However no significant assessment or quantification of these impacts in terms of change in drainage patterns, springs in the project area, increased thereat of landslides, seismic activities has been carried out.

While talking about the impact of construction activities, the only impact of these two EIAs discussed in the chapter is ‘muck generation’. It does not mention impacts of tunneling and blasting involved in construction and also does not talk about its impact on fragile geology and hydrology of Himalayan region at all[6]. While talking about quarrying activities in the same chapter it states only two impacts viz. visual impacts and noise generation[7]. Impacts on landslides have been randomly dismissed stating that the sliding activity may not be significantly induced by project construction activities[8]. The reports trivialize the impacts on migratory fish Mahseer by stating that the upstream migration of this fish from the lower reached of the Chenab River have already been blocked by Salal and Baglihar, Dul Hasti dams. Thus they conclude that impact of this project on this fish species is not expected to be significant[9]. Option for fish ladder and fish lift has been ruled out for both the projects stating that it is not techno-economically feasible at the project site. Development of a hatchery at the project site has been proposed instead. The impact of the project on all the fish available in the river should have been assessed based on baseline assessment of the fisheries in Chenab River, which is not done. Secondly, there is no credible evidence to show that hatchery as a management option is useful or effective.

Left Bank slide for Kiru Project downstream of Ludrari Nala

Left Bank slide for Kiru Project downstream of Ludrari Nala (Source Kiru EIA Report)

 Right Bank slide for Kiru Project about 16 km downstream of Gulab Gargh

Right Bank slide for Kiru Project about 16 km downstream of Gulab Gargh (Source Kiru EIA Report)

 

The southern boundary of the Kishtwar National Park is approximately at an aerial distance of 11 km away from the proposed project, it is claimed, but this needs to be independently assessed. Also, just because it lies outside the boundary of study area which is radius of 10 KM, the EIA does not consider the impacts on this national park at all! EIA reports for both Kiru and Kwar HEPs simply state that the proposed activities shall have no impact on the National park[10].

Biodiversity at Kishwar National Park I

Biodiversity at Kishtwar National Park (Photo: Travel Places[11] & Beauty Spots of India[12])

 Several Important aspects of EIA are missing

No mention of free flowing river stretch: There is no mention of what is the flowing river stretch upstream and downstream of the project. As is clear from the EIA, the elevation difference between FRL of Kiru HEP (1515 m) and TWL of upstream Kirthan II (1526.5 m) is just 11.5 m. The elevation difference between TWL of Kiru HEP (1388 m) and FRL of downstream Kwar HEP (1385 m) is just 3 m. Similarly the elevation difference between TWL of Kwar HEP (1270 m) and FRL of downstream Hasti HEP (1264 m) is just 6 m. However, it is not clear what the flowing river lengths in all these locations are. Unless this length is assessed and is found to be adequate for river to regain its vitality, the project should not be considered and it should be asked to change the parameters.

Environmental Flows: The Kiru EIA report states that significant downstream impacts related to the water quality, fisheries, socio-economic and aquatic biodiversity are not foreseen since toe power house is proposed downstream of the dam and tail water level is EL 1388.52 m, discharge will be less only in a “very small stretch of about 800 m”. This seems to show the ignorance of the EIA consultants about how biodiversity in a flowing, lively river like Chenab survives.

Kwar EIA report states that the water entering the reservoir will be released back to river at a distance of 2.6 KM downstream. The report claims that though there in no human activity in this stretch of 2.6 KM the aquatic life will be definitely affected, as also terrestrial biodiversity, groundwater recharge, use of river and silt flow pattern.

10% of average of lean season discharge has been prescribed to be released through the dam gates as environmental flow for both the projects. This quantity has been calculated as 9.0 cumecs based on discharge data of the river. There is no mention of environmental flows in EMP. Firstly, this is even below the norms being followed by EAC and MoEF (30% in monsoon, 20% in lean season and 25% in rest, each at 90% dependability). Secondly, the amount of E-flow required needs to be arrived at based on actual assessment, but no such assessment has been done.

Impact of peaking generation not assessed: The reports talk about advantage of hydropower in terms of ability to providing peaking power. However, when a project operates as peaking station, there are severe impacts in the downstream and also upstream (rim stability). These impacts have not been assessed, nor is it assessed how the project will perform in the cascade development it is in.

Some other important aspects of impact assessment that report misses out on are:

  • Impact of the project on disaster potential in the project area as well in the downstream due to construction and also operation at various stages, say on landslides, flash floods, etc.
  • Social and Environmental Impacts of construction and operation of the coffer dams and diversion tunnels during construction phase are not included.
  • The reports do not even mention Climate Change.Impact of climate change on the project and impact of the project on the local climate has not been assessed. No mention or attempt has been made about or to assess the impact of green house gas emissions from the project.
  • Impacts on the flood characters of the river due to this dam, what will be the changes and how these will impact downstream areas.
  • Impact of changing silt flows downstream from desilting chamber and from silt flushing in monsoon on the downstream areas not analyzed. A detail account of how the silt from the dam would be flushed out annually and what would be the impact of this in the downstream as well as on the geo morphology, erosion, stability of structures etc was not done.
  • Options Assessment is missing, this is crucial part of the EIA to establish that among all options, including non project option, the given option is the least cost and best option.

Cumulative Impacts not assessed The EIA report gives list of Major hydroelectric projects executed /under execution/ under investigation so far in the basin in J&K which are a part of Cascade Development. Kirthan HE Project (990MW with proposed FRL at 1764 m and TWL at 1526.50m) which is yet to be commissioned is proposed upstream of Kiru (660 MW with FRL at 1515M). Downstream of Kiru is Kwar HE Project (560 MW with FRL at 1385 m and TWL at 1270 m) which is yet to be appraised and Dul Hasti HE Project (390 MW with FRL at 1264 m) which is commissioned.

Impoundment of Chenab at Dul Site

Impoundment of Chenab at Dul Site (Source: Kwar EIA Report)

 Moreover, the EIA does not provide the list of hydropower projects being taken up in Chenab basin in upstream Himachal Pradesh[13]. The cumulative impacts of all such projects will be huge.

The report summarizes cumulative impacts in single sentence: “The increased pressure will include uncontrolled logging, hunting of wildlife, non-timber forest product collection, livestock husbandry, the cultivation in forest areas and forest fires.”[14]

EIA report completely misses out on the detailed analysis of cumulative impacts in terms of

  • Impacts on flora, fauna, carrying capacity, livelihoods
  • Impact of reduction in adaptive capacity of the people and area to disasters in normal circumstance AND with climate change
  • Impacts on springs and drainage pattern
  • Disaster potential of the area
  • Tunneling and blasting
  • Geological disturbance caused
  • Seismic impacts
  • Carrying capacity

Inadequate Dam Break AnalysisThe Dam break analysis does not take into account the cumulative disaster potential including existing and proposed upstream and downstream projects. The EIA report also does not include cumulative disaster management plan.

Improper Public Hearing Public hearing conducted for both the projects were flawed. Excerpts from the speeches made by the officials from J&K State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and CVPP that are noted in the public hearing report show that what these persons spoke was inappropriate, misleading and intimidating[15]. Also point wise responses to the issues raised by people at the Public Hearing are not provided in the EIA, as statutorily required. Hence even when people ask for Resettlement and Rehabilitation as per latest Act of 2013 (made effective from Jan 1, 2014), the EIA talks about National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy of 2007. The public hearing report strangely end for both projects with the officials asking those who are for the projects to raise their hands. There is no formal provision for voting for or against the project. Such public hearing should be declared null and void and fresh public hearing should be conducted.

Poor quality EIA reports that reflect pro hydro bias of the consultant EIA is the most effective tool to ensure environmental compliance in India. Needless to state that it is of critical importance. Casually predicted, unaddressed impacts and copy paste job of the Kiru and Kwar EIA reports once again highlights the poor quality of EIA reports submitted to the ministry for grant of EC. These reports decide fate of the project, of the people and environment surrounding the project site. Such quality of the report is most definitely not acceptable.

Further, an EIA report is an attempt to understand what are the adverse social and environmental impacts of a project and weather the impacts are acceptable, if the project is viable, optimal and desirable. The answer to this exercise can also include the answer that the project is not viable or desirable or acceptable. In view of this, the EIA consultant needs to be completely unbiased and should be ready to even conclude that the project is unacceptable. However, in case of the EIA consultant for the Kiru & Kwar HEP, EIA starts in very 1st chapter with a shockingly unscientific and biased statement: “Hydropower projects are dependable, renewable, economic, environmentally benign sources of energy with ability to stop and start instantaneously.” This statement is factually wrong on many counts (e.g. hydropower project is renewable or dependable or environmentally benign source of energy). It, along with whole para 1.2 also reflects the bias of the EIA consultants RS Envirolink Technologies Pvt Ltd (with Jammu University) and we urge the EAC and MoEF to reject such poor quality and biased EIAs and take other necessary steps to debar such agencies from doing any EIA or environmental studies in future.

CONCLUSION Looking at serious issues above, based on merit of the EIA reports, as well as complete cut-paste jobs, we are hopeful that the MoEF will not recommend EC for these projects. This case also highlights the importance of cumulative impact assessment in an over developed Himalayan basin. When the experience with Uttarakhand flood disaster of June 2013 is fresh, we hope that MoEF will not commit another blunder.

Amruta Pradhan, SANDRP

END NOTES:

 

[1]https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/pm-kick-starts-850-mw-ratle-project-in-jk-without-full-impact-assessment-invitation-to-another-disaster-in-chenab-basin/

[2]https://sandrp.in/hydropower/Dams_on_Chenab_How_many_are_too_many_Dec2012.pdf

[3]https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/report-of-expert-committee-on-uttarakhand-flood-disaster-role-of-heps-welcome-recommendations/

[4] Refer to SANDRP studies on Chenab

https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/pm-kick-starts-850-mw-ratle-project-in-jk-without-full-impact-assessment-invitation-to-another-disaster-in-chenab-basin/

https://sandrp.in/hydropower/Dams_on_Chenab_How_many_are_too_many_Dec2012.pdf

https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/massive-hydropower-capacity-being-developed-by-india-himalayas-cannot-take-this-onslought/

[5]https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/pm-kick-starts-850-mw-ratle-project-in-jk-without-full-impact-assessment-invitation-to-another-disaster-in-chenab-basin/

[6]p.291 of Kiru EIA Report & p.288 of Kwar EIA report

[7]p.293 of Kiru EIA Report & p.289 of Kwar EIA report

[8]p.298 of Kiru EIA Report & p.294 of Kwar EIA report

[9]p.307 of Kiru EIA Report & p.303 of Kwar EIA report

[10]p.221 of Kiru EIA Report & p.223 of Kwar EIA report

[11]http://www.4to40.com/travel/index.asp?p=Kishtwar_National_Park&state=Jammu_and_Kashmir

[12]http://beautyspotsofindia.com/kishtwar-national-park-jammu-kashmir/

[13] See for example: https://sandrp.in/basin_maps/Hydro_%20Electric_Projects_in_Chenab_River_Basin.pdf

[14]P. 306 of Kiru EIA

[15]The Public hearing report of Kiru says that Shri Sajjad Mufti, Regional Director of J&K SPCB said at the public hearing, “Construction of project should not deteriorate the environment….” This is a very strange, untruthful and inappropriate statement from J&K SPCB official. Why should the official be speaking at all at the public hearing and that too make such a statement that would also affect the atmosphere of the public hearing? Similarly the statement of GM of CVPP at the public hearing, “The most viable and cleanest of all (sources of power) is hydro power” was again, wrong, intimidating and inappropriate. The statement of Shri Khursheed Ahmed Butt of CVPP, “forest clearance has already been granted to the proposed project” is incorrect since the proposal for forest clearance for the project has not even come before FAC. Such public hearing should be declared null and void and fresh public hearing should be conducted.

The Public hearing report of Kwar says that the GM of CVPP said at the public hearing, “The best source of power generation is hydro power” was wrong, intimidating and inappropriate. The statement, “forest clearance has already been granted to the proposed project” is incorrect since the proposal for forest clearance for the project has not even come before FAC.

[16] See for details and link to PCA orders: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/international-court-asks-india-to-release-more-water-and-rejects-plea-to-re-interpret-february-verdict-on-kishanganga/

Disasters · Floods · Uttarakhand

Report of Expert Committee on Uttarakhand Flood Disaster & Role of HEPs: Welcome recommendations:


Drop 23 projects, do cumulative assessments & improve governance

In a significant development on role of hydropower projects in Uttarakhand flood disaster of June 2013, the Expert Body (EB) headed by Dr Ravi Chopra has recommended that at least 23 hydropower projects should be dropped, that hydropower projects played significant role in the Uttarakhand disaster and that there is urgent need to improve the environment governance of hydropower projects. The Report “Assessment of Environmental Degradation and Impact of Hydroelectric Projects During The June 2013 Disaster in Uttarakhand” dated April 2014 has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on April 16, 2014 and was made public following hearing in the Supreme Court on April 28, 2014. The committee was appointed by a reluctant Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in October 2013, following the Supreme Court’s suo motto order of August 13 2013.

Source: MATU Jansangathan
Damaged Vishnuprayag Dam in Uttarakhand floods of June 2013: Source: MATU Jansangathan

Uttarakhand floods of June 2013[1],[2]: The committee report endorses the stand taken in a letter[3] that was written to MoEF on July 20, 2013, endorsed by over 20 individuals and groups including from Uttarakhand on the role of existing and under  construction hydropower projects in the Uttarakhand floods  of June 2013. MoEF did not take any action on this letter, but it was Supreme Court order next month that pushed MoEF to take necessary action.

SC order of Aug 13, 2013[4]: On Aug 13, 2013, while disposing off the petition on Srinagar HEP in Uttarakhand, the Supreme Court, suo motto, made an order that asked, MoEF and Uttarakhand governments not to provide any further clearances to any more hydropower projects anywhere in Uttarakhand till further orders. Both MoEF and Uttarakhand governments have been violating this order. However, one of the fall outs of this order was formulation of Expert Body appointed by MoEF more than two months latter, through an order on Oct 15, 2013, whose report now is available in public domain.

Limited TOR[5]: The Supreme Court order of Aug 13, 2013 pertained to whole of Uttarakhand, as was the disaster of June 2013. However, the MoEF order and subsequently CWC tried to restrict the field of work of the committee to Alaknanda and Bhagirathi sub basins rather than whole of Uttarakhand.

Problematic constitution: The constitution of the Expert body was also problematic from a number of aspects. There was clear conflict of interest with respect to some of the members like Dr BP Das, former member and Vice Chair of the MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, as explained below. The committee also included chairman of Central Water Commission and Central Electricity Authority, which unfortunately act like lobbies for hydropower projects. These persons were in the committee to bring in respective expertise, but in stead used their presence in the committee to discredit evidence which suggested clear role of hydropower projects, some members also advocated for more hydropower projects, in stead of adhering to the mandate given by the Supreme Court, thus raising the issue of contempt of court.

In what follows we have given some useful recommendations and conclusions of the EB, followed by some weak recommendations and conclusions of the EB report, based on a quick reading of the report (we got the over 200 page report only on April 29, 2014), following by some remarks on role of vice chair, CWC, CEA, MoEF and our conclusion.

Map of Mandakini Valley, epicenter of Uttarakhand floods of June 2014 (Source: EB report)
Map of Mandakini Valley, epicenter of Uttarakhand floods of June 2013 (Source: EB report)

On 24 projects recommended to be dropped by WII “After considerable discussions and analysis, the Expert Body concluded that of the 24 proposed Hydropower Projects (HEPs) that Wildlife Institute of India (WII) recommended for Review, 23 HEPs would have significant irreversible impacts on biodiversity values.”

“The EB recommends that for the 23 proposed HEPs out of the 24 identified by WII (other than the Kotli Bhel 1A project) that would have irreversible impacts on the biodiversity of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Basins, the HEPs that fall in any of the following conditions should not be approved for construction.

(a)               Proposed HEPs that fall inside wildlife Protected Areas such  National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

(b)               Proposed HEPs that fall within the Gangotri Eco-sensitive Zone

(c)               Proposed HEPs that fall above 2,500m that encompass critical wildlife habitats, high biological diversity, movement corridors, and fragile in nature due to unpredictable glacial and paraglacial activities.

(d)               Proposed HEPs that fall within 10 km from the boundary of Protected Areas and have not obtained clearance from the National Board for Wildlife.”

It would have been in fitness of things if EB had exclusively asked for stoppage of work on all these 23 projects with immediate effect.

On Kotli Bhel 1A The EB has, we believe, erroneously concluded, over ruling the conclusion of WII and expert review initiated by EB, “that the Kotli Bhel 1A project might not significantly worsen the condition of the river Bhagirathi between Koteshwar and Devprayag – already part of a highly fragmented zone”. However, EB has asked for  “due modifications to its design and operations so that an adequate stretch of the river downstream of the Koteshwar dam just above KB-IA can be maintained in a free flowing state”. This means the project work should stop and it should reapply for clearances after doing the suggested modifications in credible way.

Restoration: “The river bed profiles at Phata-Byung, Singoli-Bhatwari, Vishnuprayag and Srinagar HEPs have changed significantly. This requires a fresh analysis of the project hydrology and redesigning them if necessary.

All projects must undertake river restoration works after prior clearance from MoEF. It was noticed that project developers were engaged in projects’ restoration only. MoEF needs to conduct a formal review of the environmental damages at all the HEPs in Uttarakhand and prepare guidelines for restoration. Till then none of the projects should begin power production.”

HEPs above 2 MW need EC “All projects > 2 MW, shall require prior Environmental Clearances (EC) from MoEF”.

“A multidisciplinary expert body should be constituted with members of proven expertise and experience to review every year the progress/performance of each HEP and its compliance with the sanction conditions. This body will also review the technicalities of disaster preparedness before each monsoon season and examine the impact of monsoon storm and floods on the performance of all the project components. The environmental health of the river will be a critical area for comprehensive examination.”

No projects above winter snow line “Learning from the June 2013 event, the EB believes that the enhanced sediment availability from and in paraglacial zones could be a serious problem for the longevity of the existing, under construction and proposed HEPs in Uttarakhand. Therefore the EB recommends that the terrain above the MCT in general and above the winter snow line in particular (~2200-2500 m) should be kept free from hydropower interventions in Uttarakhand.”

SIA should be carried out for all river systems in Uttarakhand “The WII study has already identified 24 proposed HEPs in the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi basins as likely to cause irreversible impacts. But comprehensive research studies of other basins in Uttarakhand are lacking at this stage… Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) be carried out in other major river basins of Uttarakhand such as the Yamuna and Kali basins.”

Distance between projects in a cascade “Scientific studies by subject experts should be conducted for establishing baseline data on river parameters, diversity and populations of floral and faunal species in different rivers of Uttarakhand at different elevation zones.  Such studies should be used for deciding upon the minimum distances between two consecutive HEPs. Until such scientific studies are completed, no new HEPs (in S&I stage) should be cleared on the rivers of Uttarakhand within a distance that may later be revoked. Minimum distances for projects in the clearance stage should be significantly revised upward from the current consideration of 1 km.”

SANDRP Map of Bumper to Bumper hydropower projects in Alaknanda basin in Uttarakhand
SANDRP Map of Bumper to Bumper hydropower projects in Alaknanda basin in Uttarakhand

National Himalayan Policy “Since the Himalaya are our vital source of growth and abundance, a National Himalayan Policy needs to be urgently created and implemented.”

“Therefore, the EB strongly recommends that a detailed study of the impacts of hydropower projects in terms of deforestation/tunneling/ blasting/reservoir formation on the hydrogeology of the area should be carried out.”

A study on the role of large artificial reservoirs on local climate change and precipitation patterns with special reference to the Tehri dam reservoir.”

Sediment transportation studies “Recent studies have highlighted serious concern about the Indian deltas, which are shrinking due to changes in river courses. The Ganga-Brahmaputra delta is also noted in this category. This seems to be a major issue in near future therefore we recommend that the studies should be carried out regarding the impacts on sediment transportation due to projects existing on Himalayan rivers.”

Cultural impacts of HEPs “Therefore EB recommends that the Ministry of Culture along with the local representatives and spiritual leaders should undertake a comprehensive study of the cultural impacts of HEPs in the spiritually rich state of Uttarakhand.”

“The river bed profiles at Phata-Byung, Singoli-Bhatwari, Vishnuprayag and Srinagar HEPs have changed significantly. This requires a fresh analysis of the project hydrology and redesigning them if necessary.”

“River Regulation Zone (R.R.Z.) guidelines should be issued immediately by the Ministry of Environment & Forests and should be executed accordingly.”

Muck Management: “The existing practices of muck management are inadequate to protect the terrain and the people from an eventuality like the June 2013 flood. Therefore, a serious revisit is required towards evolving technically better and ecologically sustainable methods for muck disposal and rehabilitation in Uttarakhand.”

Environmental Flows: “Till such time as a decision is taken on the EFlows recommendations of the IITs-consortium, the EB recommends EFlows of 50% during the lean season and 30% during the remaining non-monsoon months. Sustaining the integrity of Uttarakhand’s rivers and their eco-systems is not negotiable.”

Eco-Sensitive Zones: “It is recommended that legislation be enacted to (i) protect small but significant rivers (as done in Himachal Pradesh and also recommended by the IMG for Uttarakhand) as pristine rivers and (ii) designate Eco-Sensitive Zones for all rivers of Uttarakhand.”

Community based CA and CAT “Community-based CA and CAT plan execution must be done by the State Forest Department within the construction period of the project.” This is to be monitored by a committee that includes two representatives from local communities, a renowned environmentalist, among others.

Forests and Biodiversity Conservation: “Community based CAT programmes have to be systemically implemented for ensuring sustenance of the plantations. This requires training of forest officials to work with the communities through their Van Panchayats.”

“It was brought to the notice of the EB that clearances to start work had been granted recently to the Lakhwar (300 MW) and Vyasi (120 MW) projects. This is in violation of the spirit of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order of August 13, 2013. It is also noticed that these projects were approved more than 25 years ago. Consequently they do not have any EIA/EMP/DMP studies that are mandatory today. Without conducting cumulative impact assessments and disaster management studies of the Yamuna and Kali basins no such projects should be allowed at the risk of fragile ecology, biodiversity and lives of people living in and around the project sites.”[6]

SOME WEAK RECOMMENDATIONS OF EB

“The EB recommends that MoEF strengthens its personnel and procedures for post-sanction monitoring of environmental conditionalities. The MoEF should develop a programme for research studies by reputed organizations on the impacts of HEPs on river water quality (and flows). Pre-construction and post operation long term impacts monitoring studies are required.”

Geology & Social Issues: “Given the massive scale of construction of HEPs in Uttarakhand it may be worthwhile to set up a formal institution or mechanism for investigating and redressing complaints about damages to social infrastructure. The functioning of such an institution can be funded by a small cess imposed on the developers. It is also suggested that to minimize complaints of bias, investigations should be carried out by joint committees of subject experts and the community.”

Disaster Management: “Disaster preparedness is critical because all of Uttarakhand lies either in seismic Zone IV or V. These areas are most vulnerable to strong earthquakes. Disaster Management Plans (DMPs) are critical parts of EIA Reports. They need to be carefully reviewed and approved by local communities in the probable zone of influence.”

“It is necessary to establish an independent authority which may commission EIA Reports…”

CONCLUSIONS OF EB:

On Role of Dams in Uttarakhand disaster:

In Chapter 3 (p 10) chairman of EB notes, “Thus THDC’s inundation analysis results could

not be substantiated by the ground survey in Haridwar city.”

“In September 2010, to retain flood inflows in the face of water levels rising beyond the permitted FRL the (Tehri) dam authorities had to seek the permission of the Supreme Court. It led to inundation of the upstream town of Chinyalisaur and later after draw down fresh landslide zones were created around the reservoir rim.”

“Geo-chemical analysis of sediment samples taken from various locations along the river stretch in Srinagar, however, indicated a significant contribution — varying from 47% near the barrage to about 23% much further downstream (Fig. 3.19, pg 101, Main Report) — from muck eroded from muck disposal sites 6 and 9 located on the concave right bank and consequently experienced an intense current of the order of 7m/sec.

This raises a question that if there was heavy to very heavy rainfall from the glacial reaches of the Alaknanda valley, leading to numerous landslides along the banks, then why was massive damage observed only downstream of the Vishnuprayag and Srinagar HEPs? A detailed investigation is warranted in order to arrive at a scientifically viable explanation.”

“Otters appear to be nearing extinction in the Ganga, Alaknanda sub-basins.”

It is good to see that the EB has effectively rejected the critique of the WII report presented by Dr. Sabyasachi Dasgupta, HNB Garhwal University and consultant to UJVNL, following an independent review of the WII report by Prof. Brij Gopal, an eminent ecological scientist who had worked extensively on river ecosystems. Prof Brij Gopal, while finding some limitations in WII methodology, concluded: “he agreed with WII’s findings that the 24 proposed hydropower projects would impact the biodiversity of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi basins significantly. Based on his own analysis, Prof Gopal recommended that several more projects be dropped.”

SOME WEAK CONCLUSIONS:

“A ground survey of the inundation analysis carried out by THDC on the basis of which it claimed to have saved Haridwar from drowning raised doubts about the accuracy of the computer generated inundation maps. It is therefore not clear how much of Haridwar would have been affected if the Tehri dam had not been there. The problem at Haridwar, as at other towns and habitations along river banks, is that there has been wide spread encroachment and construction inside the river’s regime. Therefore it is imperative to set up river regulation zones where encroachments are forbidden. (Unscientific sand mining on river beds adds to the problem.)”

“There is some doubt about whether the Vishnuprayag project authorities were able to properly manage the opening and closing of the gates.”

Role of Dr B P Das: Dr B P Das has for close to a decade been member or vice chair or officiating chair of the Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF on River Valley project and has in the process been involved in appraising and deciding on clearances for a no of projects and their impacts in Uttarakhand. Hence he was not likely to be in a position to take an independent view on Uttarakhand hydropower projects as there was a conflict of interest involved with respect to his earlier decisions. His biased views were also known through his article in The Hindu earlier. This got reflected in the alternate view on page 27 of chapter 3 and page 16-17 of Chapter 4 of the report authored by Dr Das. In Chapter 3 box, Dr Das’s abiding faith in the project developer could be seen. In Chapter 4 box Dr Das himself mentions that EAC has yet to take a view on WII report, but the he himself is a responsible party for EAC not having taken a view on WII report.

Role of CWC, CEA chairpersons: CWC (Central Water Commission, India’s premier technical body on water resources development under Union Ministry of Water Resources) and CEA (Central Electricity Authority, India’s premier technical body on power sector are largely known to act as lobbies for hydropower projects, in stead of the independent technical and regulatory body that they are expected to work as. In view of that, inclusion of chairperson of CWC and CEA in this committee was wrong step on the part of MoEF. We learn from a letter written by two eminent members of the committee, namely Dr Shekhar Pathak and Dr Hemant Dhyani on March 27, 2014, that indeed the chairpersons of CWC and CEA did not really participate in the way they were required to, and rather functioned in violation of the Supreme Court order.

Scanned version of last part of the letter of 27.03.2014 from Dr Shekhar Pathak and Dr Hemant Dhyani, members of EB
Scanned version of last part of the letter of 27.03.2014 from Dr Shekhar Pathak and Dr Hemant Dhyani, members of EB

Role of MoEF: One had expected that the EB would take a critical view of the functioning of the MoEF around HEPs and contribution of MoEF’s failures in increasing the disaster proportions. Unfortunately we are disappointed in this. Possibly, with the committee having been appointed by MoEF and member secretary of the committee being MoEF official this was a difficult ask. However, not being able to take a critical stand on the role of MoEF (and other institutions like CWC, CEA, state environment department, state disaster management department etc) imposes a limitation on the EB report and provides a free reign to guilty party. The consequences of this became apparent when on April 28, 2014, during the Supreme Court hearing, we are told, the MoEF presented erroneous picture that there are two reports of the committee, one by 10 members(wrongly called activists) another by Vice Chair B P Das, with CWC and CEA chair persons, when at best the note from these three persons can be considered dissent note, that too in violation of SC orders. We hope the Supreme Court will take strong view of this misleading picture presented by MoEF and reprimand the responsible officials to ensure that this does not happen again.

View of the Committee working through its minutes 

Minutes of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th meeting are available on the MoEF, Lucknow regional office website. Perusal of the minutes shed light of the functioning of the committee, and the biases of some specific members. Some highlights from the minutes:

THDC, Tehri and Muck Disposal Sites: Site visit reports of various members, including Dr. Amit Gupta, Dy Director of MoEF presented that THDC is managing active and non active muck disposal sites ‘poorly’. The sites do not have proper retaining wall, slop or plantations.

THDC hid drift tunnel of Koteshwar dam: Member Hemant Dhyani exposed that THDC officials did not accept the presence of a huge drift tunnel of Koteshwar Project near Payal Gaon, which was suffering from severe subsidence. Only when the local people, including the tunnel construction workers insisted that there is a tunnel that the THDC officials accept this fact!

In the 3rd meeting, the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand told the committee that projects with EC or FC should not be closed or stopped. Note here that this suggestion is unacceptable when the SC itself has asked the committee to investigate the role of projects in the flood damages.

To top this, Additional Chief Secretary unilaterally asserted that HEP did not have any role in the mishap. He emphasised every Environmental CLearance needs an EIA. This indicates his poor knowledge about the quality of EIAs which has been accepted by most experts.

He further stressed that a umber of FC cases were peding before the MoEF. Moef official YK Singh Chauhan rebutted this claim.

In the 4th Meeting, Dr. B.P. Das, Co Chair of the committee categorized June event as a rare natural calamity and attributed the losses only to road construction ( Incidentally, many  roads are being built for hydel projects, and do not even allow access to local communities.)

Dr. Ravi Chopra, Chairperson highlighted the poor data management of THDC. He highlighted that THDC could not provide HFL data, rainfall data, inlet level from Maneri Bhali II and outlet level sought by the committee members.

Conclusion: In spite of certain weaknesses, most of the recommendations of the committee need to be immediately implemented and till they are implemented in letter and spirit, the Supreme Court should order a status quo on any further hydropower projects. The EB headed by Dr Ravi Chopra should be congratulated for this report in spite of difficult circumstances under which the committee operated.

Þ     We also hope the Supreme Court would ask MoEF to order stoppage of work on Lakhwar and Vyasi projects that has been started recently, violating the Supreme Court order in letter and spirit, and also as pointed out by the EB.

Þ     The work on 24 hydropower projects that was part of explicit TOR of the committee should be ordered to stop immediately. The EB should have made this explicit recommendation, but even if they have not done that, it is implicit in its recommendation.

Þ     The Supreme Court should ask MoEF to provide a time bound action plan on implementation of the various recommendations of the EB. The SC an also possibly appoint EB (minus Dr Das, CWC and CEA persons) to oversee the implementation of the action plan and continue to provide independent feedback on adequacy of such implementation.

Þ     The Lessons from Uttarakhand are relevant for all Himalayan states of India from Kashmir to all the North East states and we hope Supreme Court to ask the follow up committee to ensure that these lessons are taken note of and necessary steps flowing there from are implemented in these Himalayan states. These will also provide guidance to our Himalayan neighbouring countries.

Þ     The failure of environmental governance is one of the clearest stark message from this episode and we hope MoEF will put its house in order in this respect, revamping its entire environmental governance.

Himanshu Thakkar (ht.sandrp@gmail.com)

END NOTES:

[1] https://sandrp.wordpress.com/?s=Uttarakhand

[2] https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/uttarakhand-flood-ravage-and-the-dams-short-film-english/

[3] https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/uttarakhand-disaster-moef-should-suspect-clearances-to-hydropower-projects-and-institute-enquiry-in-the-role-of-heps/

[4] https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/uttarakhand-flood-disaster-supreme-courts-directions-on-uttarakhand-hydropower-projects/

[5] https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/expert-committee-following-sc-order-of-13-aug-13-on-uttarakhand-needs-full-mandate-and-trimming-down/

[6] By Dr. Hemant Dhyani, Member, EB

[7] Reuters report on this issue: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/04/29/india-flood-idINL6N0NL0VC20140429

[8] The section “View of the Committee working through its minutes” has been put together by SANDRP colleague Parineeta Dandekar. I am also thankful to her for  other useful suggestions from her.

Dams · Ministry of Environment and Forests

Open letter to Rahul Gandhi as he lays foundation stone of Parwan Dam: A Dam meant for thermal power projects

Reports[1] indicate that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is to lay foundation stone for the controversial Parwan Irrigation Project in Jhalawar district in Rajasthan (see the map above, taken from Down to Earth), before speaking at public meeting in Baran district on Tuesday, Sept 17, 2013. Detailed analysis of official documents and other reliable accounts indicate that this unnecessary dam is seemingly being pushed to supply water to some of the proposed thermal power projects in Baran and Jhalawar districts.

Image

The project will require 12248 ha of land including submergence of massive 9810 ha of land as per conservative government estimates, displacing about 100 000 people[2] from at least 67 villages of Baran and Jhalawar districts in Hadauti region of Rajasthan. It will require at least 1835 ha of forest land, and will affect at least 2 lakh trees only on this forest land, lakhs of trees on non forest land will also stand destroyed. Most of the 1.31 lakh Ha of land in Baran, Jhalawar and Kota districts that is supposedly to get irrigation is already irrigated. These districts have average rainfall of 842 mm (Baran[3]), 923.5 mm (Jhalawar[4]) and 804 mm (Kota[5]), which is high by Rajasthan standards. If there is adequate harvesting of this rainwater, groundwater levels would certainly rise and remain sustainable with appropriate cropping pattern. This has happened in neighbouring Alwar and Jaipur districts.

This Rs 2000 crore dam with huge impacts is certainly not required for this purpose.

From all accounts, in reality the dam seems to be pushed for thermal power projects like the 1320 MW Kawai coal based thermal power project of Adani[6], 1320 MW coal based Chhabra[7] thermal power project of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd and the 330 MW gas based thermal power project of RRVUN at the same location. Very strangely, these projects applied for environmental clearance based on water supply from Parwan dam, even when Parwan dam does  not have all the required statutory clearances, and when work its yet to start. The MoEF should have refused to sanction these thermal power projects before Parwan dam was in place.

This action of the MoEF speaks volumes about poor environmental governance due to which the TPS were cleared based on water from a project that is yet to see even foundation stone or all necessary clearances! The allocation for thermal power projects has increased[8] from earlier 40 Million Cubic meters (MCM) to 79 MCM to 87.8 MCM and this is likely to increase further considering these allocations did not take into account the transmission and evaporation losses.

Manipulated clearance process In fact the Parwan dam still does not have all the necessary statutory clearances. A quick look at the way Parwan got various clearances:

Þ    Environmental Impact Assessment From the minutes of the 40th and 45th meetings of the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Committee held in August and December 2010 it is clear that the EIA of the project did not have: Full social impact assessment, Full R&R Plan with Categories of Project affected persons and land for each category, Proper Dam break analysis, proper command area development plan with cropping pattern or necessary irrigation intensity (Only 14% kharif irrigation intensity provided as noted by EAC) and drainage plan, muck disposal plan. The basic facts in the EIA were wrong and the EAC should have rejected the EIA.

Þ    Contradictions in EIA The EIA is full of contradictory information. For example it says the forest land coming under submergence is 1608.59 ha when the FAC form A[9] says that submerging forest land is 1731.48 ha. This is a very big difference by any standards.

Þ    R & R Plan Firstly, there is such huge difference in the figures of displaced and affected people in various documents; it is clear there has been no credible social impact assessment. For example, EAC notes that 2722 houses to be submerged, 3002 (2142 in FAC factsheet in 0413) families to be affected, of which 461 tribal families. No R&R for non tribal families, which is completely unjust. Even for the tribal families there is no adequate provision of agricultural land. FAC sub committee accepts: “Most of these families do not belong to the notified Scheduled Tribes and also do not have any documentary evidence to prove that they are in possession of the forest land for a continuous period of minimum 75 years.” So most of the people will not even be eligible for resettlement or rehabilitation.

Þ    How many people are affected? About 1401 families with population of 8650 persons will be displaced fully while 741 families with 4172 persons will be displaced partially. The ST population comprises 340 families with population of 1524 persons fully displaced and 121 families population 882 persons are partially displaced. However, independent sources are saying that the project will affect more than a lakh of people. This is a huge difference. Track record of past projects shows that official figures are always gross under estimates.

Þ    EAC recommendation However, even when the responses to EAC’s fundamental concerns were not available, EAC recommended clearance to the project in December 2010. This showed how the EAC basically works as a rubber stamp.

Þ    Environment clearance After EAC’s recommendation, the MEF is supposed to issue Environmental clearance. However, a visit to MEF website[10] on September 16, 2013 shows no information about clearance to the project. We learn from other sources that the MEF issued clearance to the project in 2011, but since it is not put up on the MEF website as required under EIA notification and NGT orders, the project will remain open to legal challenge with 30/90 days of MEF putting up the clearance letter on MEF website.

Þ    Wildlife clearance The Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife in its 22nd meeting[11] held on April 25, 2011 considered the project. This was the infamous meeting[12] chaired by the then Union Minister of state (Independent Charge) of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh pushed 59 projects in two hours (average two minutes per project). He reportedly[13] said later that this was done under pressure, but the damage was done.

Þ    Dr M.K. Ranjitsinh[14] and Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda[15] submitted dissent notes, but the minister had predetermined objective and did not listen to any argument. The NBWL decided to clear the project even without knowing if the Shergarh  wildflife sanctuary will be affected, how much water the downstream river will need, what will be the impact of the project on Jawahar Sagar Sanctuary, Rana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary or Chambal River Sanctuary or the project even had done basic options assessment or impact assessment.

Þ    Location with respect to Shergarh WLS One of the key issues about this project is the location of the project with respect to Shergarh Wild Life Sanctuary. As noted by the FAC sub committee, the Parwan Doob Kshetra Hitkari and Jangal Bachao Samiti has been saying that the dam site is right inside the Sanctuary. However, if the project were to affect the WLS, it would require a Supreme Court clearance. To avoid this, manipulations have been going on.

The Site Inspection Report[16] of Forest Advisory Committee noted this issue and conducted a joint inspection in June 2012. The SIR said after this exercise that the proposed dam is 150 m in the upstream of the boundary of the WLS. However, the Parwan Doob Kshetra Hitkari and Jangal Bachao Samiti have contested this conclusion and said there was manipulation in this exercise.

But the EIA of the project, as noted by the 40th and 45th EAC meeting said that the project is five km away from the Shergarh WLS (this itself shows how poor is the EIA and how poor is the appraisal by EAC. Shockingly, even the Environment Clearance letter of 2011 also reportedly says that the project is 5 km away from the WLS, another reason why the EC will remain open to legal challenge.) In June 2013 there was another attempt at resolving this dispute, but again due to heavy rains could not be resolved. Funnily, the NBWL, which should be most concerned about this issue, has shown no concern. Until this issue is satisfactorily resolved, the project cannot go ahead, it will remain open to legal challenge.

Þ    Recommendation of 25 cusecs release The NBWL condition that 25 cusecs (cubic feet per second) water should be released for the environment is not based on any assessment of water requirement for the river and biodiversity in the downstream, since such an assessment has never been done. It seems like another manipulation, based on the fact that Shergarh weir, 10 km downstream from the dam site, has storage capacity of 16 MCM, which is equal to release of 25 cusecs water!

Þ    Gram Sabha resolutions The FAC factsheet[17] agrees that there are contradictory gram sabha resolutions, one set against the project and another submitted by the project authorities in favour of the project. The resolutions submitted by the opposing committee, which is without vested interests, is likely to be correct. There should be an inquiry about the correctness of the gramsabha resolutions by an independent body.

Þ    Forest Advisory Committee The FAC considered the project in its meetings in Sept 2012 and April 2013 and recommended clearance in April 2013 meeting when all the fundamental issues remained unresolved.

Þ    FAC sub-committee A sub committee of FAC visited the project in March 2013. Their report accepts a number of serious anomalies. For example, it says: “FAC sub committee report says: “It (is) a fact that a major part of the command area of the project is presently irrigated by using tube wells… Though there is no mention in the EIA report and other documents, about 79 MCM water from the dam is proposed to be utilized for 1,200 MW and 2,520 MW thermal power plants being constructed at Kawai and Chhabra respectively, in Baran district… It has been accepted by the project proponent that approach road to the historic Kakoni temple will be submerged. Submergence of the approach road will hinder free movement of devotees to the said temple, which may result in public resentment.”

Þ    Forest Clearance After the FAC recommended forest clearance for the project in April 2013 in questionable circumstances, the MEF is supposed to issue in principle forest clearance and than after fulfillment of conditions in the in-principle clearance, it can issue final clearance. A perusal of the MoEF FC website[18] on Sept 16, 2013 shows that the site does not display any of the clearance letters. Our letter to the concerned MoEF officers on Sept 15, 2013 remains unanswered. We came to know through independent sources that in principle forest clearance has been issued in middle of August 2013, final forest clearance will take a long time.

Þ    Compensatory Afforestation Plan Full plan and maps of CAP have not been submitted, says FAC factsheet. It is not even known if the land for CA is free of encroachment, the DFO says it will be ensured when the possession taken, as reported in Factsheet in April 2013. CA land is in 32 villages in at least 32 pieces, the DFO has not even visited all the lands to ascertain if it is suitable for CA and yet DFO has given certificate that it is suitable for CA. This seems like typical case where CA has no chance of success as noted by CAG audit report on CA in Sept 2013. It is completely illegal of CCF, PCCF, state forest department, FAC or MoEF to consider the project without full CAP with all the required details verified on ground.

Þ    CWC clearance The Central Water Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee is supposed to clear all major irrigation projects. This TAC appraisal is supposed to happen only after all the final clearances are given as TAC recommendation is the basis for Planning Commission’s investment clearance. Since the Parwan project does not have the final forest clearance, it cannot be considered by the TAC of CWC. However, we learn that on Friday, Sept 13, 2013, TAC met and cleared the project.

Þ    Planning Commission Investment clearance Project cannot have the Planning Commission Investment Clearance since it does not have all other clearances in place. Without this clearance no funds can be allocated for the project from state or central plans.

Þ    Big irrigation projects not delivering As even Planning Commission and CAG has noted and as SANDRP has been showing through analysis for so many years, since 1992-93, net irrigated area by Major and Medium Irrigation Projects at National level has not seen any increase. There is little sense in spending massive amounts on such projects without understanding this reality. We hope Planning Commission, CWC, Rajasthan government and people concerned with this issue will take heed of this. Unless of course, if the intention is to create reliable reservoirs of water for thermal power projects, as seems to be case here, while pushing projects in the name of irrigation for Rajasthan farmers.

What all this means is that Rs 2332.52 crore project with Rajasthan’s fourth largest reservoir (after Bisalpur, Rana Pratap Sagar and Mahi Bajaj Sagar) is being planned without a proper appraisal or legally supportable clearances. Bull dozing ahead with such a  project which has huge social, environmental and economic costs is not only bound to keep it open to agitations, legal challenges and delays, but is also not likely to have justification in public eye. It can even be politically counter productive. Nehruvian era of trying to win elections through such so called temples of modern era is gone, and our politicians need to learn this fast.

It is hoped that better sense prevails and Mr Rahul Gandhi will ask the project to go through due process rather than laying foundation stone of this controversial project that has more questions than answers.

Himanshu Thakkar (ht.sandrp@gmail.com)

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (https://sandrp.in/)

END NOTES:


[12] http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-09-30/india/30229554_1_clearance-process-nature-conservation-foundation-nbwl: ““The NBWL members note that in their last meeting during Jairam Ramesh’s tenure as environment minister they were forced to clear most of the 59 proposals to start projects in protected areas – wildlife sanctuaries and national parks – in only two hours… Yet another fact of the same meeting was that 39 clearance proposals were received only two days prior to the meeting leaving very little time, and no working day, for the members to even glance through the proposals.” The NBWL members who have signed the letter include Biswajit Mohanty from the Wildlife Society of Orissa, Asad Rahmani of the Bombay Natural History Society, T R Shankar Raman of the Nature Conservation Foundation, Bivabh Talukdar of Aranyaak, M K Ranjit Sinh, Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Brijendra Singh, Valmik Thapar, Prerna Bindra, Bittu Sehgal, Mitali Kakkar and Uma Ramakrishnan.”

[13] http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/magazines/commentary/5903-condemned-by-government-policy.html#sthash.otGYIc9L.dpuf: “Jairam Ramesh later made public the fact that such clearances were “under pressure”.”

[14] “The Parvan major irrigation project, Rajasthan, which will submerge 81.67 sq.km. of the Shergarh Wildlife Sanctuary and what is more, will result in the destruction of approximately 186443 trees, in a tree deficit State like Rajasthan. Furthermore, even though 25cusecs of water is proposed to be continuously released into the Chambal from the proposed dam, this project will result in a major diversion of water from the Chambal, which has already been identified as deficient in water flow to support the last viable populations of the endangered Gharial and the Dolphin, in the April 2011 report prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India at the instance of the MoEF. The report specifically recommends that no further diversion of water from the Chambal should take place if the future survival of the endangered aquatic species mentioned above, is to be secured. There is also no EIA of the project, with regard to the impact upon the aquatic life and ecology of the downstream Jawahar Sagar Sanctuary, Rana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary and the National Chambal Sanctuary”.

[15] “With regard to Parvan major irrigation project in Rajasthan, please record that I had pointed out at the meeting that nearly 2 lac trees need to be inundated/chopped for the purpose. Though I did not mention it then, I feel very strongly that proper EIA of the project must be done.”

Expert Appraisal Committee · Ministry of Environment and Forests

Reconstituted Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects: MoEF has neither environment sense, nor guts: Unacceptable Committee

Press Statement                                                                                             September 7, 2013

Reconstituted Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects:

MoEF has neither environment sense, nor guts: Unacceptable Committee

On Sept 5, 2013, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests came out with “Re-constitution of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley & Hydro Electric Project” (see: http://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/EAC-Order-05092013.pdf). Mr Alok Perti, former Coal Secretary, has been made chairperson of the committee that appraises all major irrigation projects, dams, hydropower projects and river valley projects for Environment clearances at two stages (TOR and final). It is shocking to see that Mr Perti who has absolutely no environment credentials, who has been known to be anti environment, who has been accusing the environment ministry to be in road block of coal mining and who has shown his ignorance of environment issues on several occasions has been selected as chair person, putting aside basic environmental sense. This reconstituted EAC on RiverValley and Hydropower projects is completely unacceptable.

It is equally disturbing to see that the committee has no woman representation, no sociologist, no one from non-government organisations. All ten members are either from government, government organisations or government funded academic organisations. This means that none of them would be in a position to take a stand independent of the government stand. The committee also has no river expert, climate change-water expert or disaster management expert, all of which are crucially important issues for a committee like this that decides the fate of India’s rivers, even more so after the Uttarakhand disaster. P K Chaudhuri, one of the members of the new committee also has had nothing to do with rivers, water or environment. Hardip S Kingra, who was involved in Commonwealth games organisation and also chairman of National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation has had no work related to rivers or environment.

Specifically, Mr Alok Perti, who has been senior functionary, including secretary of currently controversial Coal Ministry from Oct 2009 to earlier this year and before Oct 2009 in ministries like defense and family welfare, clearly has had no background on environment or rivers. As coal secretary, he had accused MoEF for stalling the growth by not giving clearances to coal mining projects automatically. The Economic Times quoted Perti as saying in a report[1]: “India has to decide whether she wants electricity or tigers.” Such simplistic statements reflect he has absolutely no understanding of environment, biodiversity, leave aside rivers. Perti’s anti civil society stance was also exposed when he refused to discuss issues with activists and asked them to go and file RTIs[2]. These are only a couple of examples we are giving here, there are many others. By appointing such a person as chairman of the EAC on RVP, the MoEF has shown it has no guts or interest in protecting the environment or forests which is supposed to be its mandate. This committee is clearly unacceptable and will also not stand legal scrutiny.

Ritwick Dutta (ritwickdutta@gmail.com, 09810044660, ERC and LIEF, Delhi)

Parineeta Dandekar (parineeta.dandekar@gmail.com, 09860030742, SANDRP, Pune)

Himanshu Thakkar (ht.sandrp@gmail.com), 09968242798, SANDRP, Delhi)

Manoj Mishra (yamunajiye@gmail.com, 09910153601, YJA, Delhi)


[2] http://environmentaljusticetv.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/greenpeace-india-protest-at-the-coal-ministry/

FOLLOWING LETTER HAS BEEN SENT ON SEPT 9, 2013:

9 Sept 2013

To,

Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan,

Union Minister of State (IC) of Environment and Forests,

Paryavaran Bhawan, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, jayanthi.n@sansad.nic.in

 

Dr V Rajagopalan,

Secretary,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, vrg.iyer@nic.in

 

Maninder Singh

Joint Secretary,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, jsicmoef@nic.in

 

Mr. B. B. Barman

Director (IA) River Valley Projects,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, bidhu-mef@nic.in

 

Subject: Urgent concerns about reconstituted Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Proejcts

 

Respected madam and sirs,

 

On Sept 5, 2013, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests came out with “Re-constitution of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley & Hydro Electric Project” (see: http://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/EAC-Order-05092013.pdf). Mr Alok Perti, former Coal Secretary, has been made chairperson of the committee that appraises all major irrigation projects, dams, hydropower projects and river valley projects for Environment clearances at two stages (TOR and final). It is shocking to see that Mr Perti who has absolutely no environment credentials, who has been known to be anti environment, who has been accusing the environment ministry to be in road block of coal mining and who has shown his ignorance of environment issues on several occasions has been selected as chair person, putting aside basic environmental sense. This reconstituted EAC on River Valley and Hydropower projects is completely unacceptable.

 

It is equally disturbing to see that the committee has no woman representation, no sociologist, no one from non-government organisations. All ten members are either from government, or from government organisations or government funded academic organisations. This means that none of them would be in a position to take a stand independent of the government stand. The committee also has no river expert, climate change-water expert or disaster management expert, all of which are crucially important issues for a committee like this that decides the fate of India’s rivers, even more so after the Uttarakhand disaster. P K Chaudhuri, one of the members of the new committee also has done no work with rivers, water or environment, going by his CV. Hardip S Kingra, who was involved in Commonwealth games organisation and also chairman of National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation has had no work related to rivers or environment.

 

Specifically, Mr Alok Perti, who has been senior functionary, including secretary of currently controversial Coal Ministry from Oct 2009 to early 2013 and before Oct 2009 he has been in ministries like defense and family welfare, clearly has had no background on environment or rivers. As coal secretary, he had accused MoEF for stalling the growth by not giving clearances to coal mining projects automatically. The Economic Times quoted Perti as saying in a report[1]: “India has to decide whether she wants electricity or tigers.” Such simplistic statements reflect he has absolutely no understanding of environment, biodiversity, leave aside rivers. Perti’s anti civil society stance was also exposed when he refused to discuss issues with activists and asked them to go and file RTIs[2]. By appointing such a person as chairman of the EAC on RVP, the MoEF has shown it has no interest in protecting the environment or forests which is supposed to be its mandate. This committee is clearly unacceptable and will also not stand legal scrutiny.

 

Under the circumstances, we demand that:

1. The notification (No. J-12011/EAC /2010-IA-I dated Sept 5, 2013) of reconstitution of the EAC be cancelled;

2. A participatory process be initiated for reconstitution of the EAC with the norms some of suggested in our letter to you dated June 29, 2013, see: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/lessons-from-uttarakhand-disaster-for-selection-of-river-valley-projects-expert-committee/;

3. The EAC meeting slated for Sept 23-24, 2013 should be cancelled.

 

We will look forward to early reply from you.

 

Thanking you,

 

Prof. M. K. Prasad, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, Cochin prasadmkprasad@gmail.com

Ramaswamy R. Iyer, former secretary, Government of India, Delhi. ramaswamy.iyer@gmail.com

Madhu Bhaduri, former ambassador, Delhi. madhu.bhaduri@gmail.com

Ravi Chopra, People’s Science Institute and member NGBRA, Dehra Doon psiddoon@gmail.com

Ritwick Dutta, ERC and LIEF, Delhi.  ritwickdutta@gmail.com

Manoj Mishra, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, Delhi yamunajiye@gmail.com

Prof. S. Janakarajan, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, janak@mids.ac.in

Vimal Bhai, MATU jansangathan, Uttarakhand bhaivimal@gmail.com

Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Pune, manthan.shripad@gmail.com

10. Latha Anantha, River Research Centre, Kerala latha.anantha9@gmail.com

Sujit Patwardhan, Parisar, Pune patwardhan.sujit@gmail.com

Debi Goenka, Conservation Action Trust, Mumbai debi1@cat.org.in

Souparna Lahiri, All India Forum of Forest Movements, Delhi. souparna.lahiri@gmail.com

Rohit Prajapati, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat   – rohit.prajapati@gmail.com

Soumya Dutta, Climate & Energy Group, Beyond Copenhagen collective, Delhi soumyadutta_delhi@rediffmail.com

Joy KJ, Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management, Pune joykjjoy2@gmail.com

Anurag Modi, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, Betul, Madhya Pradesh sasbetul@yahoo.com

Dr Brij Gopal, Centre for Inland Waters in South Asia, Jaipur, brij44@gmail.com  

Rahul Banerjee, Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra, Indore rahul.indauri@gmail.com

20. Subhadra Khaperde, Kansari Nu Vadavno, Indore subhadra.khaperde@gmail.com

Shankar Tadwal, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, Alirajpur shankarkmcs@rediffmail.com

Samantha Agarwal, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. samsnomadicheart@gmail.com

Dr V Rukmini Rao, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Secunderabad. vrukminirao@yahoo.com

Tarun Nair, Researchers for Wildlife Conservation, Bangalore. tarunnair1982@gmail.com

Shankar Sharma, Mysore shankar.sharma2005@gmail.com

C.G. Madhusoodhanan, Research Scholar,Indian Institute of Technology Bombay madhucg@gmail.com

Pushp Jain, EIA Resource and Response Centre, New Delhi ercdelhi@gmail.com

Gopakumar Menon, Wildlifer, Bangalore. gopakumar.rootcause@gmail.com

Gopal Krishna, Toxics Watch Alliance, Delhi. gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com

30. Jai Sen, CACIM, New Delhi, jai.sen@cacim.net

Samir Mehta, International Rivers, Mumbai samir@internationalrivers.org

E Theophilus, Malika Virdi, K Ramnarayan, Himal Prakriti, Munsiari, Uttarakhand, etheophilus@gmail.com

Neeraj Vagholikar, Kalpavriksh, Pune, nvagho@gmail.com

PT George, Intercultural Resources, Delhi, ihpindia@gmail.com

Akhil Gogoi, President, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam, secretarykmss@gmail.com

Subir Bhaumik, Veteran Journalist and author of “Troubled Periphery: Crisis of India’s Northeast” (Sage, 2009), sbhaum@gmail.com

Ravindra Nath, Rural Volunteers Centre (RVC), Akajan, Dhemaji, Assam, rvcassam@gmail.com

Sanjib Baruah, Professor, Bard College, New York, baruah@bard.edu

Shashwati Goswami, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, shashwati.goswami@gmail.com

40. Mrinal Gohain, ActionAid, Guwahati, mrinalgohain@gmail.com

Keshav Krishna Chatradhara, Peoples Movement for Subansiri & Brahmaputra Valley (PMSBV), Assam, pmsv_subansiri@yahoo.com

Girin Chetia, North East Affected Area Development Society, Jorhat, Assam, neadsjorhat@gmail.com

Azing Pertin, Echo of Arunachal, Arunachal Pradesh, azingp@gmail.com

Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP, Delhi.

Parineeta Dandekar, SANDRP, Pune. parineeta.dandekar@gmail.com

Additional names in letter sent independently by CORE (namdithiu@coremanipur.org on 190913) :

46. Centre for Organisation Research and Education (CORE)

Reformed Education and Development Society (READS) Manipur

Forum for Indigenous Perspective and Action (FIPA)

Action Committee  Against Tipaimukh Project (ACTIP)

50. All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen’s Union Manipur (ALLAFUM)

All Manipur Thanga People’s Welfare Association (AMTPWA)

Rural Education and Action for Change Manipur (REACH-M)

All Tribal Women Organisation(ATWO)

Weaker Section Development Council(WSDC)

Rongmei Luh Phuam (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland)

REACHOUT North East

River Basin Friends North East

58. Anthony Deb Barma of Borok Peoples’ Human Rights Organisation (BPHRO), Tripura

Himanshu Thakkar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, c/o 86-D, AD block, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi)ht.sandrp@gmail.com

Expert Appraisal Committee · Hydropower · Ministry of Environment and Forests

EAC’s norms for Eflows need to Change: Submission from civil society

The following submission has been sent to the Expert Appraisal Committee, River Valley and Hydro Power Projects, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India. The current norms recommended by EAC while clearing hydropower and irrigation projects are hardly leaving any water for the rivers (eflows), thereby destroying rivers as well as livelihoods.

  Norms on e-flows followed by EAC need to change

 Respected Chairperson and members,

As you know, the Inter ministerial Group on Ganga Basin was constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests through an order issued on June 15, 2012. It has subsequently submitted its report to the MoEF in April 2013.

While there are several issues about IMG’s report and recommendations, some of the recommendations are the minimum, urgent stop gap measures that need to be implemented by the EAC. IMG’s recommendations are relevant for nearly all rivers across the country. All of the rivers have rich social and religious values and a large proportion of population depends on them for livelihood. Hence, the recommendations of IMG logically apply to all the rivers. In line with the IMG Report recommendations, we urge the EAC to modify its recommendations about eflows and environmental impacts as suggested below:

1.           Eflows

a.           Eflows to be based on daily uninterrupted flows, not seasonal flows

The IMG report states that: “An important component of the e-flows regime has to be mimicking of the river flows so as to keep it very close to the natural flows. Cumulative norms even on seasonal basis do not meet this objective. Daily inflow norms may, however, enable a sustained river flow as well as have large flows in the high season and hence are more suitable.” (emphasis added)

IMG has thus recommended that all dams and hydro projects should release water based on daily inflows, following the % releases recommended in each season, but the releases must change as per daily inflows.

 b.           Eflows as 30-50% of daily lean season flows

The IMG report recommends that releases should be 50% of lean season flows where average lean season flow is less than 10% of the average high season flow. Where average lean season flow is 10-15% of the average high season flows, the releases should be 40% of inflows and where 30% for the rest of the rivers.

In keeping with IMG recommendations, we urge that the EAC should be recommending 50% average daily flows in lean season as eflows.

c.           Independent, community-based monitoring of Eflows releases

Monitoring of eflows releases from operating projects is crucial, given the fact that it is currently entirely in the hands of the proponent without any monitoring of compliance by the MoEF. In such a situation, proponents are not releasing any eflows as pointed out by the one person Avay Shukla Committee Report, recent CAG report of Himachal Pradesh.

IMG recommends: The IMG has considered the need for an effective implementation of the e-flows as cardinal to its recommendations. It is recommended that the power developer must be responsible for developing a monitoring system which is IT-based and gives on a real time basis the flow of water in the river, both at the inflow and in the outflow after the river gates in the river stream. This should be

(a) monitored by an independent group

(b) reviewed yearly by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in the first five years and

(c) put in public domain the e-flows. This real time public monitoring of e-flows will be the key.

We urge that that EAC recommends similar monitoring norms for all projects. Effective monitoring cannot be done if local affected population is not a part of this process, hence, in addition to above points, EAC should recommend that eflows should be monitored by an independent group which has at least 50% participation of downstream communities facing the impacts of these projects.

d.           Assessing eflows only through participatory and true Building block Methodology (BBM)

The IMG states: “Considering environment, societal,  religious needs of the community and also taking  into taken in to account the status of river Ganga as national river, the IMG recommends adoption of Building Block Methodology (BBM) for assessing the e-flow requirements on a long-term basis. This recognizes the fact that the riverine species are reliant on basic elements (Building Block) of the flow regime, including low flows, and floods that maintain the sediment dynamics and geo-morphological structure. It also includes an understanding of the functional links between hydrology and ecology of the river systems.”

However, the EAC is accepting any eflows assessment as BBM, simply looking at the label provided by EIA consultants, without applying its mind. We have pointed out that BBM purportedly used by consultants like WAPCOS in Lohit Basin Study is not BBM in any sense.

We urge the EAC to:

·                     Recommend methodology of BBM assessment clearly at the time of granting TORs (This is available from WWF or here: King, J.M., Tharme, R.E., and de Villers, MS. (eds.) (2000). Environmental flow assessments for rivers: manual for the Building Block Methodology. Water Resources Commission Report TT 131/100, Pretoria, South Africa. ),

·                     Recommend sectors which should be included in BBM study of a specific river (downstream users, fishermen, geomorphology experts, ecologists, etc.) clearly at the time of granting TOR. Downstream users should form a part of the BBM Group in all circumstances.

·                     Check whether these sectors are duly represented in flows studies

And only then accept the study as being based on BBM methodology. The current practice of EAC of accepting any shoddy assessment as BBM is serving neither the rivers, nor the communities, nor is it expanding India’s experience with BBM.

e. Release of Eflows

It is not just how much the releases are, but how the releases are made that decides if the releases are useful for the rivers, biodiveristy and the society. Unfortunately, EAC has given no attention to this issue.

In this context, one of the guideline of the IMG says, “Fish passes may be made an integral part of hydropower projects. Regular monitoring for their effectiveness be done by project developers.”

EAC should follow this and make well designed eflow release mechanism mandatory part of the EIA study and post-construction monitoring.

2. Free flowing river stretch between projects

Currently, the EAC has a very lax norm of recommending 1 km distance of the river between two projects. In many cases, the EAC is not following even this minimalist distance criterion. Nor is it following recommendations of civil society, or expert committees of having minimum 5 kms of free flowing river before it meets the downstream project/submergence.

In this regard, the IMG notes “There is a clear need to ensure that adequate river length is available to meet the societal needs and River gets adequate time during its flow to regenerate itself.” 

The EAC should include, as part of EIA and TOR a detailed study of:

·                     “Time” required by the river between two projects to rejuvenate itself and how much distance the river need to have such time to rejuvenate itself.

·                     Ecology (including livelihood fisheries) downstream of a project and how it will be affected by modified flows while granting TORs to hydro projects.

·                     Social and cultural use of the river downstream the project: presence of religious sites, river sanctuaries, etc. while granting TORs to hydro projects.

Based on this, the EAC should recommend distance of free flowing river that needs to be maintained downstream a specific project. This should be applicable even if this was not stated at the time of deciding TOR.

3.           Recommend Free flowing and Pristine rivers in all basins

World over, there exist norms and laws to protect free flowing rivers as “Pristine, Wild or Heritage Rivers”. EAC has been recommending damming most of the rivers in the country in the recent years. The EAC should recommend that some rivers should be maintained in their pristine, undammed (or with the current stage of development, no further) condition.

In fact, the IMG has specifically recommended: “ The River Ganga has over a period of years suffered environmental degradation due to various factors. It will be important to maintain pristine river in some river segments of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. It accordingly recommends that six rivers, including Nayar, Bal Ganga, Rishi Ganga, AssiGanga, Dhauli Ganga (upper reaches), Birahi Ganga and Bhyunder Ganga, should be kept in pristine form and developments along with measures for environment up gradation should be taken up.”

Unfortunately, currently the EAC is actually clearing projects when Cumulative Impact Studies or Basin Studies on such rivers are not completed or are on-going (Example: Chenab Basin Projects, Satluj Basin Projects, Lohit Basin Projects). We have pointed this out to the EAC on number of occasions, without any response.

We urge the EAC to recommend a few ecologically and socially important rivers in each basin as pristine rivers, to be protected from any projects at the time of clearing basin studies or cumulative impact assessment studies. At the same time, the EAC should analyse the present development stage of a basin while clearing specific projects and should recommend some rivers in pristine state. In places like North East India and western Ghats, certain river basins may need to be left in pristine state.

 4.           Recommendations to the MoEF about eflows from existing projects

The IMG has made a clear recommendation in this regard: “The suggested e-flows should be applicable to the existing power projects in operation in these States.” IMG has given maximum of three years for the projects to achieve e-flows.

We urge the EAC to make a recommendation to the MoEF to look at existing projects and recommend eflows norms on the same lines as those for new projects in time bound manner.

As the World Environment Day is drawing close, we are sure that the EAC will look at its role of protecting the Riverine environment and communities and will take proactive steps in this regard.

Looking forward to your point-wise response to the issues raised above.

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,

 

Himanshu Thakkar and Parineeta Dandekar, 

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (ht.sandrp@gmail.comparineeta.dandekar@gmail.com)

Samir Mehta, 

International Rivers (samir@internationalrivers.org)

Dr. Latha Anantha, 

River Research Centre, Kerala (rrckerala@gmail.com)

Expert Appraisal Committee · Ministry of Environment and Forests

EAC rejects 2 VIDC projects from Buldhana for Violations

Expert Appraisal Committee, MoEF refuses to consider 2 VIDC projects from Buldhana for Environment Clearance siting violations

During its last meeting on 22-23rd March 2013, Expert Appraisal Committee of the MoEF has rejected considering two projects from Buldhana for violating EIA Notification (2006) and Environment (Protection) Act 1986. (see minutes here: http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/57_65thEACMiutes.pdf)

Location of Buldhana in Maharashtra
Location of Buldhana in Maharashtra

2 Irrigation Projects from Buldhana: Ar Kacheri Irrigation Project and Alegaon Irrigation Project, Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), were discussed for granting Terms of Reference (TORs). However, on the ground, both the projects have started work without an Environmental Clearance and this work was stopped only after strong local protests and even litigation. This was pointed out by the EAC and admitted by Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation. Together, both projects are set to submerge 436 hectares of forest and irrigated, cultivated land. Although 80% of the land under submergence is cultivated and irrigated by ground water, the Pre-feasibility reports (PFR) of the projects say that they will not cause submergence or affect population. EAC has pointed out this discrepancy too.

Alewadi project is just 1.75km from the core boundary of Melghat Tiger Reserve while Ar-Kacheri is 4.75km from the same. The projects have also received Stop Work order from the Forest Department in 2012.

Wan Wildlife Sanctuary from where Ar Nallah originates. Photo: Wikimedia
Wan Wildlife Sanctuary from where Ar Nallah originates. Photo: Wikimedia

Despite all these serious issues, the project proponent chose to hide these facts from the EAC. SANDRP had sent a submission to the EAC prior to the meeting, highlighting many  issues and saying: “Considering the violations by both the project developers of EIA notification 2006 by starting work without the required clearances, the EAC should first recommend an enquiry into these violations and ask the responsible officials to be held accountable before even considering any clearance.”

The EAC has observed that both the projects have indulged in violations. According to the EAC: “Such cases are to be dealt in terms with the MoEF OM No. J-11013/41/2006-IA.II (I) dated 12.12.2012. Accordingly, the project proponent is required to submit an affidavit with an undertaking not to execute works without obtaining environmental clearance and furnish photographs of the site from all four sides of the project.” The OM also states for such violations, the State Government will have to take necessary legal action against the violations as per the Environment Protection Act. In case of serious violations, the MoEF reserves the right to reject projects all together.

Even as the White Paper on Irrigation Projects points fingers at Green Clearances as one of the reasons for time and cost overruns of irrigations projects in Maharashtra, the functioning of Water Resource Department itself has been responsible for these delays and irregularities. Without an Environmental Clearance, work on the project cannot start as per the EIA Notification 2006 and EPA 1986.

However, all Irrigation Development Corporations in Maharashtra have been breaking this law with impunity many times over. This was observed in case of Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation for several projects, Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation for numerous lift Irrigation schemes on Ujani and Vidarbha Development Corporation, for Lower Painganga Project.

With this decision, there is hope that VIDC and other IDCs in Maharashtra become less callous about issues relating to environment and affected communities.

Parineeta Dandekar parineeta.dandekar@gmail.com 

Himanshu Thakkar, ht.sandrp@gmail.com 

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

 

Dams

Jan 2013 issue of “Dams, Rivers & People”

Highlights of  the Jan 2013 issue
Jan-Feb Issue of Dams, Rivers and People
As “Dams, Rivers & People” completes ten years, we are happy to bring it to you in brand new format. Please do let us know how you like it.

Analysis of MOEF’s EAC on RVP: The Expert ApprovalCommittee

The Ministry of Environment & forest (MoEF) has constituted different Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC) for the appraisal of various developmental projects including River Valley & Hydroelectric projects. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MoEF) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects (RVP) has not rejected a single one of the 262 hydropower and irrigation projects considered by it. This is one of the clues that EAC has strong pro project and anti people bias

Nyamjang Chu

MoEF’s EAC on River Valley Projects:Project wise details (April 2007 to Dec 2012)

This document presents decisions of meetings of the EAC during the period from Apr 2007 to Dec 2012. The document is organized region wise, then statewise, and finally as per project. This list provides evidence for the information provided in the lead article about the functioning of the EAC.

Man holding a Mahseer

Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation finds place in Indian Biodiversity Congress!

Indian Biodiversity Congress lays stress on Freshwater Biodiversity conservation. Looking at the huge and at time irreversible impact of dams and hydropower projects on aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, Indian Biodiversity Congress has made some specific recommendations to the MoEF

People protesting against Luhri HEP

Reject Environment Clearance for the proposed 775 MW Luhri hydropower project

This letter to the MOEF draws attention to the many inconsistencies in the EAC’s approval of this project on the Sutlej River. It points out that the EIA is ‘inadequate, full of contradictions and misrepresentations’ and recommends blacklisting of the agency involved

Photo of plants in a wetland

Include rivers in India’s definition of Wetlands, follow the Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Definition of wetlands includes permanent, seasonal, and intermittent Rivers.Despite this, Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010 EXCLUDE Rivers from the definition of Wetlands, thus ensuring that no riverine stretches will be nominated for protection.

South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People

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Dams

The Expert ‘Approval’ Committee has zero rejection in six years

 

Analysis of MoEF’s EAC on River Valley ProjectsImage

 

 

Introduction Following the implementation of EIA notification of Sept 2006, the Ministry of Environment & forest (MoEF) has constituted different committees for the appraisal of various developmental projects including River Valley & Hydroelectric projects. The committees are called as Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC). The EAC for River Valley & Hydroelectric projects has had 63 meetings till date from the date of constitution of Committee in April 2007 to the latest meeting in Dec 2012. The committee generally recommends for any River Valley projects, at first stage the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) to be carried out for the proposals along with permission for pre construction activities or works related to survey and investigation.

 

Figure 1: Stage 1 clearance figures across India

 

Model TOR The MoEF has also put up what the Ministry calls “Model TOR for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects”, but when you click on the link[1], it opens into a document that is titled, “Model TOR for Hydropower Projects”, it does not even claim to be a model TOR for any other river valley projects. This is a big lacuna, since over 95% of India’s large dams are irrigation projects[2], not hydropower projects. Moreover, substantial proportion of the projects coming before the EAC is irrigation projects, including river linking projects. Not having a Model TOR for such projects is a big gap. This does not mean that the Model TOR given on the MoEF website is adequate or comprehensive. Only to illustrate, the Model TOR does not look into the impacts of the various integral components of the hydropower projects like colonies, roads, mining, blasting etc that the hydropower projects invariably have. Model TOR does not look at the social, environmental, economic or cultural services that a river provides. On downstream impacts, the model TOR says under Impact Prediction, “Downstream impact on water, land & human environment due to drying up of the river in the stretch between dam site and powerhouse site.” This completely negates the impacts that the project would have either on the upstream or in the river downstream from the power site or along the tributaries both upstream and downstream of the projects. Nor does it mean that these grossly inadequate Model TOR is followed by the developers. Even the ministry or the EAC does not bother to check if the EIA submitted to them follows either the specific TOR given to the project or the Model TOR on the MoEF website.

 

Environment Clearance At the next stage, the EAC considers the projects for the Environment Clearance (EC), at this stage the EIA is supposed to have been conducted as per the approved TOR and the public hearing is also supposed to have been conducted as per the norms set in the EIA notification of Sept 2006. The EIA notification is issued under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. We have tried to analyse the recommendations of the EAC from the minutes of 63 meetings for the period April 2007 to Dec 2012.


The EAC members The reconstituted EAC in April 2007 was headed by Shri P Abraham, former Power Secretary. Over the years, EAC included members like Dr Sanchita Jindal, Dr A R Yousuf, Dr OP Sisodia, Dr Dinesh Kr Alva, Dr. Dulal Goswami, Prof D K Paul, Dr (Mrs) Usha Bhat, Dr Bithin Datta, Dr Pushpam Kumar, Dr. Devendra Pandey (chairman of EAC from Aug 2009 to April 2010, current Chairman took over as chairman during 38th meeting held on June 30, 2010), none of them are members of the EAC for RVP currently. The member representing Central Water Commission in the EAC included R K Khanna, R K Singh, N Mukherjee but has been changing over the years and full list of their names is not available. Shri P Abraham resigned following our letter to the then Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh, showing the conflict of interests involved in he being on the board of a number of hydropower companies whose projects came up for clearance before the EAC chaired by him.

 

The current composition of EAC for RVP is as follows (as per MEF website[3] as on Jan 30, 2013):

 

S.No.

Name & Address

Role in Committee

1

Shri. Rakesh Nath, C-1/29, Bapa Nagar New Delhi-110 003

Chairman

2

Dr. B.P Das, 717 Saheed Nagar Bhubaneswar -751007

Vice-Chairman

3

Dr .A. K. Bhattacharya, Flat No-805,Pocket-3,Akshardham Apt. sec-19 Dwarka New Delhi-110075

Member

4

Chief Engineer(Hydrology), Central Water Commission, Sewa Bhawan, R.K. Puram,New Delhi-110 066

Member

5

Dr. Jyoti Kumar Sharma, Professor School of Environment & Natural Resources 14/15, Old Survey road Dehradun-248 001 Uttrakhand

Member

6

Dr. K.D. Joshi, Principal Scientist and Head Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute Regional Centre Allahabad Uttar Pradesh

Member

7

Dr. Praveen Mathur, Associate Professor & Head Department of Environmental Science P-5, Professor’s Colony MDS University Campus Ajmer-305 009 Rajasthan

Member

8

Dr. S Bhowmik, 40 C, Pocket 1, Sector 10, Dwarka, New Delhi

Member

9

Dr. Surendra kumar Mishra, Department of Water Resources, Development & Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee – 247667

Member

10

Dr. (Mrs.) Maitreyee Choudhary, Professor & Director, Centre for Himalayan Studies, University of North- Bengal, W.B.

Member

11

Prof. (Dr.) Dhananjai Mohan, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, 248 001 Uttarakhand

Member

12

Prof. Arun Kumar, Department of Earth Sciences, Manipur University, Imphal, 795003, Manipur.

Member

13

Prof. S. K. Mazumdar, 242, FF, Sidharth Enclave Ashram Chowk New Delhi-110 014

Member

14

Sh. B B Barman, MOEF, Paryavaran Bhavan, New Delhi

Member Secretary

 

In addition to the above, Dr P V Subba Rao (Scientist from MoEF) is listed as EAC member in the minutes of the meetings. Interestingly, he, Dr B P Das and Dr A K Bhattacharya seem to be constant members of the EAC throughout the period under study.

 


Role of MoEF All the comments about the EAC here apply equally to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as two officials of the ministry have always been part of the EAC, including the member secretary of the EAC. In fact MoEF has a greater role in selection of the chairman and members of the EAC, deciding what projects should be put on the agenda, what happens after the EAC recommendations, ensuring that all the required information about the projects on the agenda is available and is in public domain, encouraging EAC to invite to EAC meetings individuals and groups who have written to EAC and MoEF on substantial aspects, and otherwise setting the policies and norms for the EAC and projects. The MoEF performance has been pathetic. Even now it’s not possible to even know the status of the clearances of the projects from the MoEF website, even though it is statutory requirement for MoEF (under EIA notification 2006) to display the clearance letters on its website. In Feb 2012 Central Information Commission (CIC) directed MoEF under the Right to Information Act 2005 to put all the documents submitted by the project developers for clearance, at least ten days before the projects are considered by the EAC. When this was not followed, SANDRP wrote to CIC and CIC issued notice to MoEF. This is still to be followed by MoEF fully. Now some of the documents are put up on the website before the EAC meetings, this is not the case even for the 63rd and 64th meetings of EAC. The EAC, in spite of repeatedly writing to them on this violation of the CIC directions, did not take steps to ensure that CIC directions are fully complied with for the projects that come up before the EAC.

 

Even though MoEF may be equally if not more responsible for the various violations listed here, that does not reduce the responsibility of the EAC members. Once someone is selected as EAC member, he or she has the duty to ensure basic norms in functioning of the EAC. Evidence presented here shows if the EAC members have succeeded in achieving even basic norms in governance of EAC.

 

Results and Analysis

 

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MoEF) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects (RVP) has considered a total of 262 hydropower and irrigation projects in close to six years since April 2007 when the new committee was set up to its latest, 63rd meeting in December 2012. It has not rejected any project in this period. Even in case of the two projects that it declined to recommend clearance for the Terms of Reference (TOR) of their Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), it has basically asked the developers to come back with reformulated proposals. It seems the committee is actually an Expert Approval Committee, since it seems to have expertise in approving rather than appraising the projects objectively.

 

EAC has strong pro project and anti people bias The Committee has shown its strong bias for the projects. Many groups from all over India have sent hundreds of submissions to the EAC over these years. The committee has never called any of the groups for the meetings where the specific projects on which groups have sent submissions. The EAC has never even acknowledged any of such submissions in the minutes of the meetings. In case of some of the recent submissions from SANDRP and others, the chairman of the EAC wrote back saying that this will be discussed in the next meeting, but there has been no mention of such submissions in the minutes of the EAC meetings. The EAC has shown its strong bias against people, environment and all those who represent the interests of the local communities and environment. In February 2012 some of us were invited for a discussion with the EAC, but we saw little impact of our discussions on the functioning of the EAC.

 

 Opposition to Dams on Teesta, many of which are cleared by the EAC Photo: Affected Citizens of Teesta

 

The table below gives an overview of the situation of TORC (Terms of Reference Clearance) and EC (Environment Clearance) for the projects cleared by the EAC on RVP between April 2007 (when the then newly constituted EAC met for the first time) to its 63rd meeting as in December 2012. The table shows that the EAC has not rejected any of the projects for EC. As against the 211 projects considered by the EAC for TORC, it (only temporarily) rejected TORC for two projects. Hence its rejection rate for TORC is less than 1%. EAC’s rejection rate of environment clearance is nil as it has never rejected any project that has come to it for environment clearance. It seems the EAC for RVP has been basically rubber stamping approval for every project that comes their way. The EAC was expected to do much better than that, as it clear from the reading of EIA notification of Sept 2006, following which the EAC was set up.

 

 

Overview of Clearance status across India

 

Region

Projects for TORC

Projects for EC

Total projects considered

TORC given

TORC Rejected

Projects considered for TORC

EC given

EC rejected

Projects considered for EC

North

50

1 (300 MW)

57

31

0

34

72

North East

70

1 (420 MW)

87

17

0

19

99

East

10

0

13

7

0

8

20

West

28

0

39

14

0

17

49

South

7

0

14

6

0

8

22

Total

165

2

210

75

0

86

262

 

Temporary rejections for two TORC Only two projects were rejected TORC. Among these, for the 420 MW Kameng Dam, the EAC rejected the proposal from KSK Ltd, since the submergence area was just 350 m from Pakke Tiger Reserve. The EAC however, said, “The Committee suggested that possibilities of locating a suitable site on Kameng River, upstream of confluence of Bichom & Kameng may be explored.” So the project is likely to come back to EAC. It is surprising, however, that another project in the same basin, namely the 1120 MW Kameng I on Bhareli / Kameng River in East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh came before the EAC during its first meeting in April 2007. The minutes of the EAC meeting clearly says about this project, “A part of the submergence area falls under the Pakke Tiger Reserve.” And yet the EAC gave TOR clearance to the project! Inconsistency seems to be the first name of the EAC.

 

Similarly the 200 MW Bara Bangahal HEP in Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh was accorded TOR clearance in 21st meeting of EAC in Dec 2008, even as the minutes recorded, “The project is located within the wildlife sanctuary.” Similarly the 76 MW Rambara project on Mandakini River in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand, just 6 km from Kedarnath, was given TOR approval in the 19th EAC meeting in Oct 2008 even as the minutes noted, “The whole project is located within Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary.”

 

Thousands of Monks opposing dams in Tawang, Arunachal cleared by the EAC Photo: Seven Sisters Post

 

Similarly while rejecting the TORC for the 300 MW Purthi HEP in Lahaul and Spiti District in Himachal Pradesh, the EAC said, “The Committee concluded that the project proponent and Govt. of Himachal Pradesh may review and revise the proposal in the light of the above observations for reconsideration.” So it is clear in this case too that the rejection is temporary. In reality, the EAC has rejected none of the projects that came to it for clearance.

 

Massive hydropower capacity cleared The EAC for RVP basically considers hydropower projects having installed capacity over 50 MW, projects of 25-50 MW going to the state Environment Impact Assessment Authorities and those below or requiring any environment clearance under EIA notification 2006. The table below shows that in less than 6 years, the EAC has recommended TORC for hydropower projects proposed with installed capacity of 49458 MW, which is about 25% more than what India has installed in about 66 years since independence.

 

 

Status of clearance for Hydropower Projects

 

Region

Capacity for which TORC given, MW

Capacity for which EC given, MW

Capacity of projects considered, MW

North

12823

6843.5

18087.5

North East

31541

8258

46658

East

3434

120

3684

West

1320

1586

South

340

863

2178

Total

49458

16084.5

72193.5

 

Figure 2: Zone wise status of Environment Clearance

 

During the period, the EAC has recommended EC for hydropower capacity of 16084.5 MW, which is about three times the hydro capacity of 5544 MW added during the just concluded 11th five year Plan. EAC has recommended all these clearances without giving any consideration to carrying capacity, cumulative impact assessment, democratic decision making, sustainable development criteria, full and proper social and environment impact assessment or desirability of such capacity addition, including from climate change perspective.

 

Opposition to 775 MW Luhri Project cleared recently by EAC Photo: Himdhara

 

Zero rejection for irrigation projects The EAC for RVP considers irrigation projects with Cultivable Command Area (CCA) above 10 000 Ha. In the table below are the region wise details of the TORC and EC recommended by EAC for the Cultivable Command Area figures of the major and medium irrigation projects.

 

During the period under study (Apr 2007 to Dec 2012), EAC has given TORC for 3.28 million ha of CCA and EC for 1.59 million Ha of CCA. Here we should note that since 1991-92, there has been no addition to the net area irrigated by major and medium irrigation projects at all India level as per Govt of India figures[4]. In light of that fact and considering the overcapacity already built into a number of basins across India already, such clearances by EAC are highly questionable.

 

Status of clearance for Irrigation Projects

 

Region

CCA for which TORC given, L Ha

CCA for which EC given, L Ha

CCA of projects considered, L Ha

North

2.02

3.53

6.17

North East

0

0

4.00

East

11.30

1.20

12.80

West

8.34

4.65

13.01

South

7.70

6.50

22.96

Total

29.36

15.88

58.94

 

Land requirement Full details of the land required for the projects are never properly assessed by the EIAs. The EAC minutes reflect only indicative figures of land requirement of some of the projects considered by the EAC as mentioned in the EIAs.

 

Figure 3: Zone wise status of Stage 1 clearances (TORC)

 

Land required for the projects considered by EAC

 

Region

No of projects for which land requirement figures are available

Land required for the projects in previous column

North

62

29932.77 Ha

North East

72

76768.27 Ha

East

9

16809.24 Ha

West

15

31858.57 Ha

South

13

57398.82 Ha

Total

171

212767.67 Ha

 

Following table gives an over view of land requirement for some of the projects as mentioned in the EAC minutes. Based on available figures, the Highest land requirement in a state is for Andhra Pradesh, at 45913.26 ha the second rank state is Arunachal Pradesh with land requirement of 35485.3 Ha. Arunachal being smaller and hilly state and most of the land being required are forested and close to the rivers, the impact in Arunachal Pradesh would be much greater. Based on above information, for the projected land requirement for the 262 projects considered by the EAC during the period under study would come to over 325995 Ha. However, these land requirement figures are gross under estimates and too much need not be read into them.

 

The flawed functioning of EAC It has not mattered to the EAC that the EIAs of the projects that come to it are shoddy, dishonest, cut and paste jobs. The Committee has not rejected a single EIA, even through evidence was repeatedly presented to the committee about shoddy nature of the EIAs. It has not mattered to the committee that there has been no credible public consultation process and there have been serious anomalies in public hearing processes. The committee did not order fresh public hearings even when evidence was provided to it about serious violations in public hearing processes.

 

Figure 4: Zone wise figures of TORC and EC given for hydropower installed capacities

 

Even when the committee asked for fresh studies or significant changes in EIA, it did not ask the project proponent to go back for fresh public hearing. It has not mattered to the committee that EIAs of the projects it cleared did not have full year round ground level surveys, did not have full social impact assessment, did not have downstream impact assessment, did not have options assessment to establish that the proposed project was least cost option, did not have assessment of impacts due to blasting of tens of kilometer long tunnels, did not have proper flora or fauna studies, did not include impact of the project on rivers and the services provided by the river or impact on downstream projects or flood plain use, or had used flawed, false or inconsistent data base.

 

 

Figure 5: Zone wise figures of TORC and EC given for irrigated area CCA in lakh Ha

 

SANDRP had put together a detailed submission[5] and mobilized endorsements of large number of concerned groups and individuals, including over ten eminent scientists on World Fisheries Day on Nov 21, 2012 and sent to EAC, raising issues concerning riverine fisheries in functioning of the EAC and suggesting specific measures to improve the same. The chairman of the EAC wrote back to SANDRP that this will be discussed in the next meeting of EAC, but there was no mention of it in the minutes of the EAC, nor any concrete action taken by the EAC after that. Earlier in November 2012, SANDRP had organized a side event on issues related to riverine biodiversity in India at the Hyderabad Conference of Parties of Convention on Biodiversity. Considering the importance of the issue for the functioning of the EAC, we had invited the members, including the Chairman and member secretary for the side event. No one came.

 

 Figure 6 Overview of State-wise installed capacities of HEPs considered by EAC in North India

 

No appreciation of Cumulative Impacts It has not mattered to the committee that there has been no Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) when  large number and bumper to bumper hydropower projects are proposed on number rivers including Bhagirathi, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab, Teesta, Lohit, Tawang, Siang, Subansiri, Narmada, to name only a few. It does not matter to them that there is no flowing river between two projects, it has recommended clearance to Luhri HEP most recently with zero flowing river length with both immediately upstream (Rampur HEP) and immediate downstream (Kol dam) projects.

 

 

Figure 7 Basin-wise overview of number of Hydro Projects considered by EAC in North India

 

Even in few cases that the EAC has asked for CIA, it has asked the CIA to be done by an agency like WAPCOS Ltd that has an abysmally poor track record in doing such studies and it has serious issues of conflict of interests since the agency is also involved in feasibility studies and detailed project reports as part of its business model. But EAC has never understood these concerns. Nor has the EAC really bothered to look at the quality of the CIA. Most significantly, the EAC refused to wait for the CIA report of a basin before considering individual projects in such basins, showing its complete lack of understanding of the importance of CIA.

 

Section 9 of the Form I (the developer is supposed to apply for stage I clearance with this form duly filled in, as per Para 6 of the notification)) prescribed in Annexure 1 of the EIA notification of Sept 2006 is supposed to be about “Factors which should be considered (such as consequential development) which could lead to environmental effects or the potential for cumulative impacts with other existing or planned activities in the locality”. Section 9.4 under this reads: “Have cumulative effects due to proximity to other existing or planned projects with similar effects”. So even legally the EAC and MoEF are supposed to look at the cumulative impact assessment issues under the EIA notification, both at scoping at appraisal stage, which they are clearly not doing.

 

Here it may be noted that recommending Environment clearance without first undertaking carrying capacity and cumulative impact assessment is in violation of Supreme Court order in “Karnataka Industrial Areas … vs Sri C. Kenchappa & Ors on 12 May, 2006” which has said:

A. “The pollution created as a consequence of environment must be commensurate with the carrying capacity of our ecosystem. In any case, in view of the precautionary principle, the environmental measures must anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental degradation.”

B. “…the preventive measures have to be taken keeping in view the carrying capacity of the ecosystem operating in the environmental surroundings under consideration.”

C. “The pollution created as a consequence of development must not exceed the carrying capacity of ecosystem.”

 

Without knowing carrying capacity of a basin it cannot be ascertained if the proposed project is “commensurate with the carrying capacity of our ecosystem”, ecosystem in this context is the river basin.

 

 

Figure 8 Overview of Basin-wise installed capacity of HEPs that EAC considered in North India

 

 

Figure 9 State wise overview of installed capacity of HEPs considered by EAC in North East India

 

EAC’s double standards While EAC itself has not rejected any of the proposals that came to it, few, rare environment friendly recommendations that have been made by other committees have also been rejected by the EAC, without any convincing reasons. To illustrate, when the carrying capacity study of the Teesta basin recommended that no projects should be taken upstream of Chungthang in North Sikkim, the EAC in its meeting overturned this decision and decided to consider all such projects. Similarly, the recommendations of the Ganga Basin Cumulative Impact Assessment study by the Wildlife Institute of India, suggesting that at least 24 hydro projects proposed in Ganga basin be dropped and much higher environment flows than those directed by EAC should be mandated, were all rejected by the EAC.

 

The recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Panel headed by Prof Madhav Gadgil were also rejected on grounds such as inadequate studies. Overturning the recommendations of the WG Ecology Panel report, the EAC recommended clearance to the controversial Gundia hydropower project in Western Ghats in Karnataka. If the standards applied by the EAC while rejecting the recommendations of all these committees were to be applied to the EIAs and CIAs based on which the EAC approved the projects, than none of the projects approved by the EAC would merit clearances. But the EAC has very lax standards for its own work, and for the EIAs and CIAs that favour projects, but different ones for the reports that recommend rejection of projects. This contradiction is highlighted here only for illustration of double standards of the EAC and it does not mean that the EAC decisions in rejecting any recommendations of any of these committees have any merits.

 

Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel assessing Ecosystems to be affected by Gundia HEP. EAC recommended clearance to this project despite rejection by WGEEP Photo: India Together

 

It may be noted that the previous chairman (former power secretary Shri P Abraham who chaired EAC till June 2009) had serious conflict of interest issues with he being on board of several power companies whose projects came up before the committee and the current chairman has had no back ground on environment issues. It has not mattered to the committee whether the Environment Management Plans that accompany the EIAs that it clears are implemented or not, or if there is any credible mechanism and legally empowered process in place to ensure its implementation. The EAC has not even shown concern for legal norms that the TOR clearances are valid only for two years. MoEF has recently issued a notification dated Oct 30, 2012[6] that said that project for which the proponents have not come back with the requested additional information for more than six months should be delisted. Luhri project thus should not have been considered by the MoEF from more than one legal point view. MoEF and EAC have yet to follow such notifications of the ministry.

 

The minutes of many of the EAC meetings make pathetic reading, if read carefully. One can find contradictions, inconsistencies, plain wrong facts being mentioned in the minutes of the EAC meetings[7], which are all approved by the EAC. Even when such errors are pointed out, the EAC has not even bothered to correct the mistakes or review its decisions.

 

Cleared by EAC, Rejected by others Many of the projects cleared by the EAC have faced serious road blocks for the shoddy appraisal done by the EAC. For example, the then Union Environment Minister himself decided not to clear the Renuka dam project cleared by the EAC. The Rupsiabagar Khasiabara project cleared by the EAC could not get forest clearance, for many reasons, including the fact that the EIA of the project was found to be so shoddy and wrong, that any other committee would have considered this an insult to its work. The Kotlibhel 1B and Kotlibhel 2 projects, cleared by this committee have been rejected clearances by the Forest Advisory Committee, following recommendation of the Wildlife Institute of India.

 

Figure 10 State wise overview of number of projects considered by EAC in North East India

 

Athirapally hydropower project in Chalakudy basin in Kerala was recommended Environment Clearance by the EAC for the third time (earlier two clearances were quashed by the Kerala High Court) in May 2007, but the project again came back to the EAC in March 2010, following Kerala High Court directions. Earlier on January 4, 2010, following directions from the then Union Environment Minister of State Shri Jairam Ramesh, Dr S Bhowmik, than director in MoEF, issued show cause notice under Environment Protection Act, 1986, to the developer agency, Kerala State Electricity Board, to show cause in 15 days as to why the environment clearance granted to the project should not be revoked and why the direction of closure of the project not be issued. It is not clear if the MoEF took the next step hinted in the notice. Its strange that the EAC, in which the same Dr Bhowmik was member secretary, did not mention the issuance of this notice in the EAC meetings when the EAC discussed this project between March and July 2010. There is no mention of the MoEF show cause notice in the minutes of the EAC meetings held during the period.

 

Figure 2 Athirappilly Water Falls at the proposed Athirappilly HEP site Photo: Southernsojourns

 

Several projects cleared by the EAC stand challenged in the National Green Tribunal, some of them (e.g. Renuka dam) have got a Stay Order. The World Bank too finds the EIAs based on which the EAC cleared the projects so poor that it has asked for fresh EIAs for the projects it wants to fund (e.g. Rampur and Vishnugad Pipalkoti hydropower projects).

 

 

Figure 11 Basin wise overview of number of projects considered by EAC in North East India

 

Climate Change It is well known that the worst impacts of climate change is going to be felt in terms of impacts on water resources. It is also well known that the natural resources like the biodiversity, forests, rivers, wetlands, fertile flood plains and riverine lands are some of the important resources that would help us adapt to the climate change impacts. Hydropower and dams that the EAC considers adversely affect all of these natural resources. It is well established that large sections of people of India who depend on such natural resources are the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change impacts and when the resources that these vulnerable sections depend on are destroyed by the hydropower projects and dams that the EAC appraises, the committee would be expected to consider the climate change context. Consideration of climate change context is thus important from several angles while appraising the river valley projects. It’s also well established now that past is not the best guide while estimating river water flows. Research over the last two decades have also established that reservoirs in a tropical country like India would also be source of methane and CO2 emissions, methane being about 21 times more potent in global warming terms than CO2. In view of all this, one would have expected elaborate discussion of climate change issues in the functioning of the EAC. One would expect the EAC to mandate the EIAs and CIAs to look at these issues comprehensively.

 

Unfortunately, we are disappointed on every one of these counts. We find little mention of climate change issues in the work of the EAC. In fact the model Terms of Reference for the hydropower projects put up on the MoEF website[8] does not have the word “climate” in it, leave aside “climate change”.

 

E-flows For Hydroelectric and River valley Projects which dewater and divert rivers entirely or partially and change its natural hydrograph, EAC has now[9] been arbitrarily recommending release of 20% of average lean season flow for lean months, between 20-30% e-flows (short for Environmental flow) for non-lean, non-monsoon months and 30% average monsoon flow for monsoon flows. This standard is entirely arbitrary, without any scientific, ecological or sociological basis, blanket for all rivers from Himalayan to peninsular.

 

This too has happened not suo motto, but after huge pressure from civil society and various other committees. And when the proponent says it cannot release these inadequate flows, EAC is actually ready to negotiate, which is acceptable between the EAC and the proponents (like in the case of 300 MW Alaknanda HEP by GMR Energy). Like any negotiation in a fish or vegetable market. While taking these decisions, EAC has never recommended that a more holistic and participatory method for assessing e-flows needs to be developed. Or that certain rivers needs to be left undammed. Even when other committees like the Wildlife Institute of India have recommended higher e-flows, the EAC or MoEF has refused to follow such recommendations.

 

Figure 12 State wise overview of number of Projects considered by EAC in East India

 

Biodiversity Violating the National Biodiversity Act of 2002, EAC does not ask for Biodiversity Impact Assessment of projects, does not think twice while recommending clearances to projects affecting severely threatened, endemic and endangered biodiversity and RET (Rare Endangered Threatened) species. This has had disastrous impacts for critically endangered fauna like Black Necked Cranes, Red Pandas (780 MW Nyamjangchu HEP), Several endemic species including Gundia Indian Frog (200 MW Gundia HEP), Snow Leopard (Projects in Upper Ganga including 300 MW Alaknanda HEP), Gangetic Dolphin (Upper Ganga and Brahmaputra Projects), Bengal Florican (1750 MW Lower Demwe Project), Fish like Golden Mahseer, Snow Trout (most dams in Himalayas and North East) to name a very few.

 

Figure 13 Basin wise overview of number of projects considered by EAC in East India

 

Even while noting in the 56th meeting of EAC, while discussing the 775 MW Luhri HEP on Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh, that as per the EIA of the project, “However, 21 species are listed in the Red data book of Indian plants”, the EAC does not even bother to enquire about which are these plants and why decide to sacrifice their loss. While discussing Shongtong Karcham hydropower project, the EAC noted in the minutes of the 30th meeting of EAC, “Considering the presence of 51 species of fish in the upper reaches of Sutlej, it is reported (in EIA) that only three species of fish were found in the study area”. But amazingly, the EAC has no qualms in accepting such fundamentally flawed EIA. Two of these species are simply human intervention.

 

Dibru Saikhowa National Park and its endangered species are thretened by the 1750 MW Lower Demwe Dam on Lohit cleared by EAC Photo: assam Portal

In case of the Rupsiabagar Khasiabara Hydro Power Project in Uttarakhand[10], the EIA report prepared by the WAPCOS to obtain Environment Clearance for the RKHPP reports presence of  only 8 bird species. The EAC actually gave clearance to the project without raising any issues of the flawed EIA. The Inspection Report of the Sub-Committee of the Forest Advisory Committee to assess wildlife values and ecological impact of the project, led by Dr Ullas Karanth makes interesting reading.

 

 

Figure 14 State wise over view of number of projects considered by EAC in West India

 

 

Figure 15 Basin wise overview of number of projects considered by EAC in West India

 

 

Figure 16 Basin wise overview of CCA of Irrigation Projects considered by EAC in West India

 

The Inspection Report noted, “However, as per the existing literature a total of 228 bird species in 30 families and 118 genera, representing more than 45% of the breeding bird diversity of the Western Himalaya and nearly 55% of breeding bird species of the kumaon  Himalaya are recorded in the region. Ten species of pheasants are found in the area, including Himalayan monal, and the Koklass pheasant, and several other altitudinal migrants. This assemblage represents 6 out of seven West Himalayan endemics found in Kumaon.” But the EAC did not even note any of these flaws of the EIA and obediently cleared the project. The project currently stands cancelled after the sub committee recommended that the project be rejected forest clearance. All this shows how little significance is of biodiversity for the EAC and MoEF.

 

Regional and detailed analysis These conclusions are based on analysis of the agenda and minutes of 63 meetings of EAC spread over close to six years from April 2007 to December 2012, done by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (www.sandrp.in)[11] in light of other related information and experiences. SANDRP has been monitoring the functioning of the EAC over the years, has been writing to the EAC about its concerns and also those of partner organisations about specific projects and general functioning of the EAC. This analysis is based on this experience and we hope it will be useful for all concerned.

 

In what follows we have given region wise status and analysis of the project wise clearances recommended by the EAC for RVP for the five regions of India, namely: North, North East, East, West and South. The tables for each region give state wise list of projects with some basic features of the projects. An overview of number of projects and their capacities is given in tables that give status wise, state wise and river basin wise figures for the projects that EAC considered in these six years.

 

Figure 17 State wise Overview of hydropower installed capacities considered by EAC in South India

 

 

Figure 18 Overview of Irrigation Projects: Culturable Command Area (CCA) of Projects in South India

 

In an accompanying document[12], also from SANDRP, we have given more details for each project and date-wise decisions of the EAC for each of the projects on EAC agenda. We are hopeful that these two documents will be helpful in giving clear picture about functioning of the EAC to all concerned.

 

We should add here that these two documents are only limited to giving a picture about functioning of the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects. There are many other equally serious problems plaguing the environmental governance of River Valley Projects in India, they will require separate work.  

 

NORTH INDIA

TOR & Environment Clearance status in North India

 

Following table gives project wise information about basic features and clearance status for the projects that came to EAC from North Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Uttarakhand. The maximum no of projects are (34) from Himachal Pradesh among all states, Uttarakhand coming second with 25 projects. Jammu and Kashmir has less no of projects at 11, but the proposed installed capacity of the J&K projects is highest at 7573 MW. The land requirement is also highest in J&K among North India states at over 10170 Ha. Among all regions, the EAC has given the highest number of environment clearances in North India.

 

SN

Project

State

Basin

I/H/M

Ins Cap (MW)

CCA (Ha)

TOR

Meeting date

Env Clearance

Meeting date

Total Area Req (Ha)

Haryana

1

Dadupur – Nalvi Irrigation Project

Haryana

Yamuna

I

92532

Approved

16/05/2007

Recommended

16/06/2009

NA

2

Hansi – Butana Link Channel

Haryana

Yamuna

M

232024

 

Waiting

19/07/2007

553.21

Himachal Pradesh (HP)

3

Dhaulasidh HEP

HP

Beas

H

66

Approved

22/04/2010

Recommended

23/11/2012

NA

4

Lambadug HEP

HP

Beas

H

25

 

Recommended

22/08/2008

9.7914

5

Nakthan HEP

HP

Beas

H

520

Approved

20/12/2010

97.76

6

SAINJ HEP

HP

Beas

H

100

Approved

22/06/2007

Recommended

20/03/2009

56.763

7

Thana-Plaun HEP

HP

Beas

H

141

Approved

7/9/2012

497

8

Triveni Mahadev

HP

Beas

H

78

Approved

7/9/2012

482

9

Chhatru HEP

HP

Chenab

H

108

Approved

8/5/2008

Waiting

28/04/2012

95.26

10

Dugar HEP

HP

Chenab

H

380

Approved

12/10/2012

NA

11

Gondhala HEP

HP

Chenab

H

144

Approved

16/10/2008

214

12

Gyspa HEP

HP

Chenab

H

300

Approved

26/03/2011

1635

13

Miyar HEP

HP

Chenab

H

120

Approved

25/09/2010

Recommended

12/11/2011

69.94

14

Purthi

HP

Chenab

H

300

Not approved

23/11/2012

72

15

Reoli–Dugli HEP

HP

Chenab

H

420

Approved

26/12/2012

182

16

Sach Khas HEP

HP

Chenab

H

267

Approved

24/11/2012

102.48

17

Seli HEP

HP

Chenab

H

400

Approved

19/02/2012

Recommended

1/6/2012

292.9654

18

Telling HEP

HP

Chenab

H

94

Approved

23/11/2012

83

19

Bajoli Holi

HP

Ravi

H

180

Approved

16/01/2008

Recommended

21/12/2010

85.7

20

Bara Bangahal HEP

HP

Ravi

H

200

Approved

16/12/2008

53.64

21

Chanju-I HEP

HP

Ravi

H

36

 

Recommended

26/02/2011

NA

22

Kutehar HEP

HP

Ravi

H

260

Approved

7/5/2008

Recommended

21/01/2011

85.36

23

Chango-Yangthang HEP

HP

Sutlej

H

180

Approved

8/9/2012

146

24

Lara Sumta

HP

Sutlej

H

104

Approved

12/10/2012

97.75

25

Luhri HEP

HP

Sutlej

H

775

Approved

18/04/2007

Recommended

24/11/2012

380

26

Shongtong-Karcham HEP

HP

Sutlej

H

402

Approved

16/08/2007

Recommended

18/02/2010

79.17

27

Sumte Kothang

HP

Sutlej

H

130

Approved

12/10/2012

110

28

Tidong -I

HP

Sutlej

H

100

 

Recommended

16/08/2007

46.66

29

Tidong -II

HP

Sutlej

H

60

Waiting

29/07/2009

164.53

30

Yangthang – Khab HEP

HP

Sutlej

H

261

Approved

16/06/2009

1532.6

31

Chirgaon-Majhgaon HEP

HP

Yamuna

H

60

Approved

24/11/2012

31.58

32

Dhamwari Sunda HEP

HP

Yamuna

H

70

Approved

28/07/2009

Recommended

15/07/2011

23.3025

33

Renuka Dam Project

HP

Yamuna

M

40

Approved

16/08/2007

Recommended

28/07/2009

1532.6

34

Rupin

HP

Yamuna

H

45

Approved

24/11/2012

27

Jammu & Kashmir (JK)

35

Baglihar stage- II HEP

JK

Chenab

H

450

Approved

22/04/2010

Recommended

8/9/2012

NA

36

Bursar HEP

JK

Chenab

H

1500

Approved

2/6/2012

1665

37

Kirthai HEP

JK

Chenab

H

250

Approved

8/5/2008

290

38

Kirthai Stage-II HEP

JK

Chenab

H

990

Waiting

31/03/2012

NA

39

Kiru HEP

JK

Chenab

H

600

Approved

22/08/2008

295

40

Kwar HEP

JK

Chenab

H

520

Approved

19/02/2010

326

41

Pakal Dul  HEP

JK

Chenab

H

1000

 

Recommended

7/1/2008

1163.898

42

Ratle HEP

JK

Chenab

H

690

Approved

27/12/2011

Recommended

21/07/2012

567.22

43

Sawalkote HEP

JK

Chenab

H

1200

Approved

3/6/2011

1099

44

New Ganderbal HEP

JK

Jhelum

M

93

Approved

8/5/2008

Recommended

26/12/2012

63.7

45

Ujh Multipurpose Project

JK

Ravi

M

280

32000

Waiting

13/11/2010

4700

Uttarakhand (UA)

46

Alaknanda Hydro Power Project

UA

Alaknanda

H

300

Recommended

17/01/2008

83.9

47

Bowala Nand Prayag HEP

UA

Alaknanda

H

300

Approved

22/08/2008

64.069

48

Devsari HEP

UA

Alaknanda

H

252

Approved

18/03/2008

Recommended

26/12/2011

223.36

49

Jelam Tamak HEP

UA

Alaknanda

H

128

Approved

28/04/2012

96.27

50

Kotlibhel 1-B

UA

Alaknanda

H

320

Recommended

19/07/2007

550.619

51

Kotlibhel-stage II HEP

UA

Ganga

H

530

Recommended

19/07/2007

676.071

52

Nand Prayag Langasu

UA

Alaknanda

H

100

Approved

25/09/2010

79.8177

53

Phata Byung HEP

UA

Alaknanda

H

76

Recommended

17/01/2008

22.72

54

Rambara HEP

UA

Alaknanda

H

76

Waiting

16/10/2008

17.78

55

Singoli Batwari

UA

Alaknanda

H

99

Recommended

18/07/2007

43

56

Tamak Lata HEP

UA

Alaknanda

H

280

Waiting

21/01/2011

77.26

57

Bhilinagana Project

UA

Bhialangana

H

22.5

Recommended

26/12/2011

NA

58

Bogudiyar-Sirkari Bhyol HEP

UA

Sarda

H

170

Approved

14/05/2009

75

59

Mapang-Bogudiyar HEP

UA

Sarda

H

200

Approved

14/05/2009

70

60

Rupsiabagar Khasiabara HEP

UA

Sarda

H

260

Recommended

17/02/2009

32

61

Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP

UA

Sarda

H

210

Approved

29/07/2009

NA

62

Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project

UA

Sarda

M

30

150302

Recommended

18/02/2010

529.57

63

Arakot Tiuni HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

81

Approved

21/01/2011

38

64

Hanol -Tiuni HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

60

Recommended

8/5/2008

48.982

65

Jakhol Sankhri HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

45

Approved

15/06/2009

24

66

Lakhwar HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

300

Waiting

12/11/2010

NA

67

Mori- Hanol HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

63

Approved

14/12/2007

45

68

Naitwar Mori HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

60

Approved

22/06/2007

Recommended

27/12/2011

47.05

69

Tiuni Plasu  HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

66

Approved

17/01/2008

 NA

70

Vyasi HEP

UA

Yamuna

H

120

Recommended

16/09/2007

135.425

Uttar Pradesh (UP)

71

Badaun Irrigation Scheme

UP

Ganga

I

53,054

Approved

16/07/2008

Recommended

30/06/2010

5053

72

Arjun Sahayak Pariyojna

UP

Yamuna

I

57000

Approved

18/03/2008

Recommended

19/08/2009

2891

Purpose: H- Hydropower; I- Irrigation; M- Multipurpose.; NA- Not available

 

 

State-wise Overview of Projects in North India

 

 

Projects

Ins Cap

Irrigation

Drinking water

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

State wise Projects

Nos

MW

CCA (Ha)

MLD

(Ha)

Nos

Total Projects

72

18087.5

616912

145

29932.77

62

HP

32

6366

 

8285.85

29

UA

25

4148.5

150302

145

2979.89

21

J&K

11

7573

32000

10169.82

9

UP

2

110054

7944

2

Haryana

2

324556

533.21

1

 

Overview of Status of clearance of projects in North India

 

TOR & EC Status

Nos

MW

CCA

MLD

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

TOR approved

50

12823

202586

21005.36

44

TOR not approved

1

300

0

72

1

TOR Waiting

6

1986

32000

4959.57

4

TOR approved before this committee

15

2978.5

382326

145

3895.85

13

Env Cl. Recommended

31

6843.5

352888

14793.77

27

Env Cl. Waiting

3

171

232024

648.47

2

Env Clearance not Recommended

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Basin-wise overview of projects in North India

 

Projects on basins

Nos

MW

CCA

MLD

Bhilangana (Ganga)

1

22.5

Alaknanda (Ganga)

10

1931

Sarda (Ganga)

5

870

150302

145

Yamuna (Ganga)

15

1010

381556

Ramganga (Ganga)

1

0

53,054

Ganga

1

530

Ganga total

33

4363.5

Beas

6

930

Chenab

19

9733

Sutlej

8

2012

Ravi

5

956

32000

Jhelum

1

93

 

From the above tables it is clear that while largest number of projects from North India came from Ganga Basin at 33, the installed capacity of projects proposed in Chenab basin is highest at 9733 MW.

 

 NORTH EAST INDIA

TOR & Environment Clearance status in North-East India

 

The region comprises of eight states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Nagaland. The Highest number of projects (99) has come to EAC from the North East region, and the highest number of first stage clearances at 70 have been given by EAC from this region. Within the North East Region, by far the highest number of projects (69) have come to EAC from Arunachal Pradesh. The EAC has the highest approval % in Arunachal Pradesh, every project has been given approval. Only for the 420 MW Kameng HEP of KSK Ltd, the EAC asked the developer to come back with reformulated proposal, rest were all given approval by the EAC. Over 35000 MW of hydropower projects have come to EAC from Arunachal Pradesh alone, by far the highest in the country for any state. Maximum no of projects that came to EAC among all river basins is from Siang basin at 21, though in terms of installed capacity, the highest installed capacity has come from Lohit basin at 10250 MW, among all the sub basins in the region. It was amazing to see the EAC promptly clearing the controversial Tipaimukh project way back in 2008, but the project is yet to get forest clearance and is unlikely to be able to start work in near future.

 

SN

Project

State

Basin

I/H/M

Ins Cap (MW)

CCA (Ha)

TOR

Meeting date

Env Clearance

Meeting date

Land Req (Ha)

Arunachal Pradesh

1

Amulin HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

420

 

Approved

30/06/2010

 

 

592.46

2

Dibang

ARP

Dibang

H

3000

 

Approved

29/07/2009

 

 

5827.8

3

Emini HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

500

 

Approved

21/08/2010

 

 

698

4

Mihundon HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

400

 

Approved

3/4/2011

 

 

700.42

5

Sissri HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

222

 

Approved

20/03/2009

 

 

900

6

Ithun-I

ARP

Dibang

H

86

 

Approved

26/12/2012

 

 

76

7

Attunil HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

500

 

Approved

16/11/2009

 

 

1021

8

Emra – II HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

390

 

Waiting

20/01/2010

 

 

1125

9

Etalin HEP

ARP

Dibang

H

3097

 

Waiting

26/12/2012

 

 

1149.85

10

Dibbin HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

130

 

 

Recommended

26/03/2011

162

11

Badao HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

70

 

Approved

7/10/2010

 

 

37.82

12

Dinchang HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

360

 

Approved

26/02/2011

 

 

82.13

13

Gongri

ARP

Kameng

H

144

 

Approved

12/04/2008

Recommended

21/07/2012

93

14

Jameri HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

50

 

Approved

23/11/2012

 

 

130

15

Khuitam HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

66

 

Approved

16/10/2008

Recommended

21/12/2010

66

16

Nafra HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

120

 

Approved

22/08/2008

Recommended

27/12/2011

78.45

17

Pachuk-I HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

84

 

Approved

27/12/2011

 

 

39.2548

18

Pachuk-II HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

60

 

Approved

27/12/2011

 

 

 

19

Para HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

55

 

Approved

7/10/2010

 

 

29.97

20

Saskang Rong HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

36

 

Approved

8/5/2008

 

 

20

21

Talong HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

225

 

Approved

12/10/2012

 

 

 

22

Kameng Dam HEP

ARP

Kameng

H

420

 

Not accepted

28/04/2012

 

 

3,764

23

Kameng-I HEP

ARP

Bhareli

H

1120

 

Approved

18/04/2007

 

 

969

24

Anjaw

ARP

Lohit

H

280

 

Approved

16/07/2011

 

 

359.12

25

Demwe HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

3000

 

Approved

19/07/2007

 

 

3600

26

Demwe Lower HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

1750

 

Approved

17/07/2008

Recommended

16/12/2009

1589.97

27

Demwe upper HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

1080

 

Approved

26/12/2012

 

 

967

28

Hotong HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

1250

 

Approved

18/07/2007

 

 

29

Kalai-I HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

1450

Approved

18/07/2007

 

 

 

30

Kalai-II HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

1200

 

Approved

22/10/2009

 

 

830

31

Tipang HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

45

 

Approved

20/03/2010

 

 

557

32

Gimliang HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

99

 

Waiting

12/10/2012

 

 

NA

33

Raigam HEP

ARP

Lohit

H

96

 

Waiting

12/10/2012

 

 

NA

34

Dardu HEP

ARP

Pare

H

60

 

Approved

8/9/2012

 

 

82.7

35

Par HEP

ARP

Pare

H

60

 

Approved

8/9/2012

 

 

28.25

36

Turu HEP

ARP

Pare

H

66

 

Approved

8/9/2012

 

 

29.49

37

Tato-II

ARP

Siang

H

700

 

 

Recommended

21/12/2010

371.49

38

Pauk HEP

ARP

Siang

H

145

 

Approved

17/09/2011

 

 

300 (Combined fig)

39

HEO

ARP

Siang

H

240

 

Approved

17/09/2011

 

 

40

Tato-I

ARP

Siang

H

186

 

Approved

17/09/2011

 

 

41

Hirit HEP

ARP

Siang

H

28

 

Approved

21/08/2008

 

 

120

42

Hirong HEP

ARP

Siang

H

800

 

Approved

15/10/2007

Waiting

23/11/2012

 

43

Kangtanshiri

ARP

Siang

H

80

 

Approved

8/9/2012

 

 

 

44

Lower Siang HEP

ARP

Siang

H

2700

 

Approved

23/11/2012

 

 

 

45

Lower Yamne St-I

ARP

Siang

H

88

 

Approved

11/2/2012

 

 

128.25

46

Lower Yamne St- II

ARP

Siang

H

90

 

Approved

11/2/2012

 

 

105.89

47

Naying HEP

ARP

Siang

H

1000

Approved

22/06/2007

 

 

600

48

Phangchung HEP

ARP

Siang

H

36

 

Approved

18/06/2008

 

 

25.5

49

Rapum HEP

ARP

Siang

H

80

 

Approved

1/6/2012

 

 

40

50

Rego HEP

ARP

Siang

H

70

 

Approved

16/12/2008

 

 

 

51

Simang-I HEP

ARP

Siang

H

67

 

Approved

12/10/2012

 

 

 

52

Simang-II HEP

ARP

Siang

H

66

 

Approved

23/03/2010

 

 

85

53

Tagurshit HEP

ARP

Siang

H

74

 

Approved

31/03/2012

 

 

41.7

54

Yamne -I HEP

ARP

Siang

H

60

 

Approved

19/09/2008

 

 

400

55

Yamne -II HEP

ARP

Siang

H

96

 

Approved

23/11/2012

 

 

300

56

Jerong

ARP

Siang

H

90

 

Waiting

8/9/2012

 

 

108.35

57

Pema Shelphu

ARP

Siang

H

70

 

Waiting

29/07/2009

 

 

63

58

Nalo HEP

ARP

Subansiri

H

360

 

Approved

12/11/2011

 

 

662.94

59

Subansiri Middle

ARP

Subansiri

H

1600

 

Approved

12/10/2012

 

 

3180

60

Subansiri Upper

ARP

Subansiri

H

2000

 

Approved

22/01/2011

 

 

3155

61

Tawang HEP St-I

ARP

Tawang

H

600

 

Recommended

21/01/2011

305.60

62

Tawang HEP St-II

ARP

Tawang

H

800

 

Recommended

21/01/2011

452.6

63

Mago Chu HEP

ARP

Tawang

H

96

 

Approved

20/01/2010

 

 

30

64

New Melling HEP

ARP

Tawang

H

96

 

Approved

20/01/2010

 

 

 

65

Nyamjang Chhu

ARP

Tawang

H

780

 

Approved

17/01/2008

Recommended

17/09/2011

254.55

66

Nyukcharong Chu

ARP

Tawang

H

96

 

Approved

20/01/2010

 

 

25

67

Rho HEP

ARP

Tawang

H

141

 

Approved

7/10/2010

 

 

35.39

68

Tsachu-I Lower

ARP

Tawang

H

69

 

Approved

21/07/2012

 

 

19.5

69

Tsachu-II Lower

ARP

Tawang

H

79

 

Approved

21/07/2012

 

 

38.89

Assam

70

Karbi Langpi Upper St

Assam

Kopili

H

60

 

Waiting

21/11/2008

 

 

 

71

Lower Kopili HEP

Assam

Kopili

H

150

 

Waiting

26/12/2012

 

 

1577

Manipur

72

Loktak Downstream

Manipur

Barak

H

66

 

 

Recommended

12/10/2012

211.57

73

Tipaimukh (Multipurpose)

Manipur

Barak

H

1500

 

 

Recommended

19/09/2008

31,950

Meghalaya

74

Kynshi Stage- I

Meghalaya

Barak

H

300

 

Approved

21/12/2010

 

 

185

75

Kynshi Stage- II

Meghalaya

Barak

H

400

 

Waiting

31/03/2012

 

 

4200

76

Mawhu HEP

Meghalaya

Kopili

H

120

 

Approved

18/04/2007

 

 

65

77

Nongkohlait HEP

Meghalaya

Kopili

H

120

 

Approved

14/12/2007

 

 

400

78

Umduna HEP

Meghalaya

Kopili

H

57

 

Approved

8/5/2008

 

 

 

79

Umngi HEP

Meghalaya

Kopili

H

100

 

Approved

14/12/2007

 

 

495

80

Umjaut HEP

Meghalaya

Kopili

H

69

 

Waiting

8/5/2008

 

 

 

81

Myntdu HEP

Meghalaya

Myntdu

H

42[13]

 

 

Recommended

17/07/2008

 

82

Myntdu Leshka Stage -II

Meghalaya

Myntdu

H

280

 

Approved

23/03/2010

 

 

 

Mizoram

83

Kolodyne-II HEP

Mizoram

Kolodyne

H

460

 

Approved

27/12/2011

 

 

720

Nagaland

84

Dikhu HEP

Nagaland

Dikhu

H

186

 

Approved

26/12/2012

 

 

 

Sikkim

85

Dickchu HEP

Sikkim

Teesta

H

96

 

 

Recommended

21/02/2008

39.07

86

Rangit –II

Sikkim

Teesta

H

66

 

 

Recommended

14/05/2009

64.93

87

Tashiding HEP

Sikkim

Teesta

H

97

 

 

Recommended

30/06/2010

17.854

88

Ting Ting

Sikkim

Teesta

H

99

 

 

Recommended

22/01/2011

25.4924

89

Lethang HEP

Sikkim

Teesta

H

96

 

Approved

20/01/2010

 

 

 

90

Suntaley Tar

Sikkim

Teesta

H

40

 

Approved

8/9/2012

 

 

39.02

91

Teesta Stage –I

Sikkim

Teesta

H

280

 

Approved

18/04/2007

 

 

 

92

Teesta Stage-II

Sikkim

Teesta

H

150

 

Waiting

23/11/2012

 

 

NA

93

Teesta Stage -III[14]

Sikkim

Teesta

H

1200

 

 

Recommended

4/8/2006

 

94

Teesta Stage -IV

Sikkim

Teesta

H

520

 

Approved

14/05/2009

Waiting

23/11/2012

324

95

Chakung Chu

Sikkim

Teesta

H

90

 

Waiting

28/04/2012

 

 

 

96

Lingza HEP

Sikkim

Teesta

H

120

Waiting

20/09/2007

 

 

97

Panan HEP

Sikkim

Teesta

H

300

 

Waiting

31/03/2012

 

 

 

98

Ralong

Sikkim

Teesta

H

120

 

Waiting

28/04/2012

 

 

 

Multistate

99

Sankosh-Teesta canal

Multistate

Sankhosh

H

4000

400000

Waiting

16/12/2008

 

 

 

                               

Purpose: H- Hydropower; I- Irrigation; M- Multipurpose.; NA- Not available

 

State-wise Overview of Projects in North-East India

 

 

Projects

Ins Cap

Irrigation

Land Req

Land requirement info available for projects

State wise Projects

Nos

MW

CCA (Ha)

(Ha)

Nos

Total Projects

99

46658

76768.27

72

ARP

69

35474

36454.34

56

Sikkim

14

3274

510.37

6

Meghalaya

9

1488

5345

6

Manipur

2

1566

32161.57

2

Assam

2

210

1577

1

Nagaland

1

186

NA

0

Mizoram

1

460

720

1

Multi state

1

4000

400000

NA

0

 

Overview of Status of clearance of projects in North East India

 

TOR & EC Status

Nos

MW

CCA

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

TOR approved

70

31541

31180.47

55

TOR not approved

1

420

3764

1

TOR Waiting

16

9301

400000

8223.2

6

TOR approved prior to this EAC

12

4940

33600.6

10

Env Clearance Recommended

17

8256

35682.58

15

Env Clearance Waiting

2

1320

324

1

Env Clearance rejected

0

0

0

0

0

 

Basin-wise overview of projects in North East India

 

Projects on basins

Nos

MW

CCA

Lohit

10

10250

Siang

21

6766

Kameng

14

4060

Kopili

7

676

Teesta

14

3274

Sankhosh

1

4000

400000

Myntdu

2

406

Dikhu

1

186

Barak

4

2266

Dibang

9

8615

Tawang

9

2757

Subansiri

3

3960

Kolodyne

1

460

Pare

3

186

 

EAST INDIA

TOR & Environment Clearance status in East India

 

The region comprises of Bihar, W Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. Among all regions, the least number of projects came to EAC from Eastern region at 20. Interestingly, not one project from Jharkhand has come to the EAC in this period. However, TOR clearance given for the 16.54 lakh CCA in this region is highest among all states and total proposed CCA among all regions is second highest for the Eastern region. This highest contribution for this large CCA from the Eastern region is coming from the proposed Saptakoshi High Dam at 15 lakh Ha (of which 9.76 lakh ha is supposed to be in India), the project also has the highest proposed installed capacity (3000 MW), but that project is supposed to come up in Nepal and there is little likelihood of the project going ahead in near future.

 

SN

Project

State

Basin

I/H/M

Ins Cap (MW)

CCA (Ha)

TOR

Meeting date

Env Clearance

Meeting date

Total Area Req (Ha)

Bihar (BH)

1

Dagmara Hydro Power Project

BH

Kosi

H

130

0

Approved

12/10/2012

Waiting

31/03/2012

NA

2

Saptkoshi High Dam[15]

BH

Kosi

M

3000

1500000

Approved

18/09/2008

NA

Chhattisgarh (CG)

3

Arpa Bhaisajhar Barrage  project

CG

Mahanadi

I

25000

Approved

26/12/2012

 

 

NA

4

Kelo Major Irrigation Project

CG

Mahanadi

I

22,800

Recommended

17/07/2008

NA

5

Kanhar HEP

CG

Son

H

50

0

Waiting

23/03/2010

NA

Orissa (OR)

6

Khandohota Medium Irrigation Project

OR

Brahmani

I

350

Approved

19/06/2008

 

 

16.8

7

Rukura Irrigation Project

OR

Brahmani

I

5750

Recommended

16/10/2008

NA

8

Samakoi Irrigation Project

OR

Brahmani

I

9990

Approved

20/03/2009

1064.43

9

Brutang Major Irrigation Project

OR

Mahanadi

I

23,300

 

 

Recommended

7/9/2012

NA

10

Jeera Irrigation Project

OR

Mahanadi

I

4800

Approved

21/08/2010

831.5

11

Ong Dam project

OR

Mahanadi

I

30000

 

 

Recommended

15/11/2007

NA

12

Daha Irrigation Project

OR

Rushikulya

I

270

 

 

Recommended

16/10/2008

NA

13

Sindol 1- Deogaon HEP

OR

Mahanadi

H

100

0

Approved

30/04/2011

NA

West Bengal (WB)

14

Dwarkeshwar Irrigation Project

WB

Hoogly

I

38,500

Recommended

17/07/2008

NA

15

Siddheswari-Noonbeel Irrigation Project`

WB

Hoogly

I

29,000

Waiting

21/08/2010

NA

16

Subarnarekha Barrage Project

WB

Subarnrekha

I

114,200

Approved

25/09/2009

5,500

17

Rammam stage-III

WB

Teesta

H

120

0

Recommended

19/09/2007

72

18

Teesta Intermediate HEP

WB

Teesta

H

144

0

Approved

16/06/2009

NA

19

Teesta Low Dam-V HEP

WB

Teesta

H

80

Waiting

13/10/2012

157.05

20

TLDP –I & II HEP

WB

Teesta

H

60

0

Approved

16/06/2009

NA

Purpose: H- Hydropower; I- Irrigation; M- Multipurpose.; NA- Not available

 

 

State-wise Overview of Projects in East India

 

 

Projects

Ins Cap

Irrigation

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

State wise Projects

Nos

MW

CCA (Ha)

(Ha)

Nos

Total Projects

20

3684

1279960

16809.24

9

West Bengal

7

404

181700

5729

3

Orissa

8

100

74460

1912.73

3

Bihar

2

3130

976000

7,595.35

1

Chhattisgarh

3

50

47,800

1572.105

2

 

Overview of Status of clearance of projects in East India

 

TOR & EC Status

Nos

MW

CCA

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

TOR approved

10

3434

1654340

15810.185

6

TOR not approved

0

0

0

0

0

TOR Waiting

3

130

29000

927.05

2

TOR approved before this committee

7

120

120620

72

1

Env Clearance Recommended

7

120

120620

72

1

Env Clerance Waiting

1

130

0

7595.35

1

Env Clearance not Recommended

0

0

0

72

1

 

Basin-wise overview of projects in East India

 

Projects on basins

Nos

MW

CCA

Teesta

4

404

0

Mahanadi

6

100

105900

Brahmani

3

0

16090

Rushikulya

1

0

270

Kosi

2

3130

1500000

Hoogly

2

0

67500

Subernrekha

1

0

114,200

Son

1

50

0

 


WEST INDIA

TOR & Environment Clearance status in West India

 

49 projects came to EAC from this region (comprising of states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Goa), most of them were irrigation projects, unlike the situation in North and North East India where most projects that came to EAC during the study period were hydropower projects. Out of these, land availability figures are available only for 14 projects, the least % of the total projects compared to all regions. Land availability figure for none of the 20 projects of MP is mentioned in the EAC minutes. Within the region, highest number of 21 projects came from Maharashtra and close second was Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra incidentally has the largest number (10) of giant lift irrigation schemes coming for approval before the EAC. Two of the biggest projects came up before the EAC were from Gujarat, the Kalpsar (Gulf of Khambat Development Project) and Par Tapi River Link Project. It was strange to see the EAC clearing the Par Tapi Narmada and the Ken Betwa Phase 1 river link proposals, both for TOR clearance. Both are facing strong opposition. Stranger it is to see the EAC noting in a latter meeting that the MoEF has conveyed to NWDA that the Ken Betwa Phase I link proposal cannot be cleared due to huge submergence it will entail in the Panna Tiger Reserve. Why did the EAC not review its decision regarding the TOR clearance in that case? Parwan irrigation project in Chambal basin in Rajasthan is another project that is facing massive opposition on ground, but the EAC has recommended it for final clearance. Even more shockingly, in its meeting on Nov 20, 2008, EAC opined that the Damanganga Pinjal link (involving several massive dams) does not require any environment clearance since it is a drinking water project. Its clear from these decisions how callous has been the treatment of the EAC to such massive projects.

 

SN

Project

State

Basin

I/H/M

Ins Cap (MW)

CCA (Ha)

TOR

Meeting date

Env Clearance

Meeting date

Total Area Req (Ha)

Gujarat (GJ)

1

Gulf of Khambat development project

GJ

Multiple

M

NA

Waiting

25/09/2010

Maharashtra (MH)

2

Ajansara Barrage

MH

Godavari

I

30004

Approved

18/03/2008

NA

3

Dhapewada LIS-II

MH

Godavari

I

67,506

Approved

22/08/2008

Recommended

21/12/2010

NA

4

Upper Penganga Project Stage -II

MH

Godavari

I

28,600

Recommended

2/6/2011

NA

5

Upper Pravara Irrigation Project

MH

Godavari

I

64260

Waiting

20/09/2007

3504

6

Kanhan River Project

MH

Godavari

M

Approved

14/05/2009

Recommended

12/11/2011

1434.54

7

Malshej Ghat Pumped Storage Sch

MH

Kalu

H

600

Approved

22/08/2008

511.06

8

Ekrukh Lift Irrigation Scheme

MH

Krishna

I

25,240

Approved

17/07/2010

NA

9

Expansion of Krishna – Koyna LIS

MH

Krishna

I

40219

Recommended

16/06/2009

NA

10

Janai Shirsai Lift Irrigation Scheme

MH

Krishna

I

14080

Waiting

22/08/2008

NA

11

Jihe Kathapur Lift Irrigation

MH

Krishna

I

27500

Recommended

8/5/2008

218.46

12

Krishna Marathwada Irrigation Prjct

MH

Krishna

I

92141

Approved

16/10/2008

2819.7

13

Purander Lift irrigation

MH

Krishna

I

21500

Approved

15/11/2007

NA

14

Shirapur Lift Irrigation Scheme

MH

Krishna

I

10,000

Waiting

26/12/2012

507.43

15

Thembu Lift Irrigation Project

MH

Krishna

I

 

Recommended

19/07/2007

NA

16

Wakurde Lift Irrigation Scheme

MH

Krishna

I

28,035

Recommended

17/07/2010

865

17

Humbarli Pumped Storage Scheme

MH

Krishna

H

400

Approved

19/08/2009

NA

18

Augmnetation Project at Bhira

MH

Krishna

H

100

Waiting

19/07/2007

NA

19

Bodwad Parisar Sinchan Yojana

MH

Tapi

I

42,420

Approved

17/02/2009

Recommended

19/02/2012

1729.64

20

Kurha Badoda Islampur Upsa

MH

Tapi

I

14586

Approved

20/03/2009

NA

21

Lower Pedhi irrigation project

MH

Tapi

I

12230

 

 

Recommended

14/12/2007

2532

22

Lower Tapi LIS

MH

Tapi

I

54500

Approved

30/06/2010

Waiting

26/12/2012

6913.25

Madhya Pradesh (MP)

23

Kundaliya Major Irrigation Project

MP

Chambal

M

Approved

27/12/2011

NA

24

Mohanpura Major Irrigation Project

MP

Chambal

M

65000

Approved

17/12/2011

NA

25

Punasa Lift Irrigation Scheme

MP

Narmada

I

35008

Recommended

26/05/2007

NA

26

Sip Kolar Medium Irrigation Project

MP

Narmada

I

6400

Approved

12/10/2012

NA

27

Upper Narmada Project

MP

Narmada

I

21276

Approved

18/04/2007

Recommended

19/08/2009

NA

28

Halon Irrigation Project

MP

Narmada

I

16782

Recommended

16/11/2009

NA

29

Integrated Raghavpur, Rosara, Basania with Bargi Multipurpose Prjt

MP

Narmada

i

 

Waiting

21/08/2010

NA

30

Bauras HEP

MP

Narmada

H

55

Waiting

17/07/2008

NA

31

Handia HEP

MP

Narmada

H

51

Waiting

15/11/2007

NA

32

Hoshangabad HEP

MP

Narmada

H

60

Waiting

17/07/2008

NA

33

Lower Goi irrigation project

MP

Narmada

M

13760

Recommended

14/12/2007

NA

34

Morand & Ganjal Complex Irrigation

MP

Narmada

M

58,052

Approved

21/07/2012

NA

35

Chinki Multipurpose Project

MP

Narmada

M

73,979

Approved

2/6/2012

NA

36

Barrage on Gopad River

MP

Son

WS

 

Approved

16/07/2011

NA

37

Bansujara Dam Project

MP

Yamuna

I

49,373

Approved

21/07/2012

NA

38

Ghogra Minor Irrigation Project

MP

Yamuna

I

1650

Approved

21/07/2012

NA

39

Lower Orr Project[16]

MP

Yamuna

I

44791

Waiting

26/12/2012

NA

40

Ken-Betwa River Linking Project -I

MP

Yamuna

M

Approved

21/12/2010

NA

41

Pancham Nagar Multipurpose Prjct

MP

Yamuna

M

Waiting

17/09/2011

NA

42

Bina Complex IMultipurpose Project

MP

Yamuna

M

Approved

8/5/2008

Waiting

11/2/2011

NA

Rajasthan (RJ)

43

Kalisindh Major irrigation project

RJ

Chambal

I

22,000

Approved

24/11/2012

NA

44

Parwan Major Irrigation-cum-DWS

RJ

Chambal

M

1,31,400

Recommended

21/12/2010

NA

Multi State

45

Lendi Major Irrigation Project

MH/AP

Godavari

I

Approved

20/09/2007

Waiting

12/11/2011

2621.42

46

Bandra Nala Project

MH/KN

Krishna

H

Approved

2/6/2012

152

47

Bhandora Nala Project

MH/KN

Krishna

H

Approved

2/6/2012

286.08

48

Pale Parmar Nalla Project

MH/KN

Krishna

H

320

Approved

2/6/2012

203.99

49

Par-Tapi – Narmada Link Project

MH/GJ

Multiple

M

188414

Approved

14/05/2009

7560

Purpose: H- Hydropower; I- Irrigation; M- Multipurpose.; NA- Not available, LIS: Lift Irrigation Scheme; DWS: Drinking Water Scheme

 

 

State-wise Overview of Projects in West India

 

 

Projects

Ins Cap

Irrigation

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

State wise Projects

Nos

MW

CCA (Ha)

(Ha)

Nos

Total

49

1586

1300706

31858.57

15

MH

21

1100

572821

21035.08

10

GJ

1

NA

0

RJ

2

0

153400

NA

0

MP

20

166

386071

NA

0

Multi state

5

320

188414

10823.49

5

 

Overview of Status of clearance of projects in West India

 

TOR & EC Status

Nos

MW

CCA

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

TOR approved

28

1320

834041

24231.68

10

TOR not approved

0

0

0

0

0

TOR Waiting

11

266

133131

4011.43

2

TOR approved before this committee

10

0

333534

3615.46

3

Env Cl. Recommended

14

0

464736

3639.91

3

Env Cl. Waiting

3

0

54500

2594.64

2

Env Clearance not Recommended

0

0

0

0

0

 

Basin-wise overview of projects in West India

 

Projects on basins

Nos

MW

CCA

Godavari

6

0

190370

Krishna

14

1120

258715

Tapi

4

0

123736

Kalu

1

600

0

Chambal

5

0

218400

Multiple

2

0

188414

Yamuna

5

0

95814

Narmada

11

166

225257

Son

1

0

0

 

SOUTH INDIA

TOR & Environment Clearance status in South India

 

SN

Project

State

Basin

I/H/M

Ins Cap (MW)

CCA (Ha)

TOR

Meeting date

Env Clearance

Meeting date

Land Req (Ha)

Andhra Pradesh (AP)

1

Pranahitha Chevella Sujala – Srvanthi Project

AP

Godavari

I

663700

Approved

16/06/2009

9810

2

Diversion from Pranahita to Sripada Sagar

AP

Godavari

I

548000

Waiting

14/12/2007

31424

3

Lower Penganga Irrigation Project

AP

Godavari

I

19,233

Approved

26/12/2012

509.261

4

Kanthanapally Sujala Sravanthi

AP

Godavari

H

280

304000

Waiting

26/03/2011

4170

5

Polavaram[17] Multipurpose Project

AP

Godavari

M

NA

NA

 

 

Waiting

17/02/2009

6

Dummugundem Nagarjuna Sagar tail pond link canal project

AP

Krishna

I

NA

Waiting

22/01/2011

7

Modernisation of Krishna Delta sys

AP

Krishna

I

529000

Recommended

14/05/2009

Kerala

8

Pathrakadavu HEP

Kerala

Bharatpuzha

H

70

 

 

 

Waiting

16/05/2007

 

9

Pambar HEP

Kerala

Cauvery

H

40

 

Approved

16/12/2009

 

 

45.034

10

Athirapally HEP[18]

Kerala

Chalakudy

H

163

 

 

 

Recommended

16/05/2007

 

11

Achencovil HEP

Kerala

Pamba

H

30

 

Approved

21/08/2008

 

 

 

Karnataka (KN)

12

Shivasamudram Seasonal Power

KN

Cauvery

H

270

Approved

29/07/2009

70

13

Kali Pumped Storage Scheme

KN

Kali

H

600

 

Waiting

20/03/2009

 

14

Singtalur Lift Irrigation Project

KN

Krishna

I

77,198

Approved

26/12/2012

3171

15

Sri Rameshwara Lift Irrigation Sch

KN

Krishna

I

13800

Recommended

16/06/2009

353.7

16

Upper Bhadra Lift Irrigation Prjct-I

KN

Krishna

I

107265

Recommended

22/10/2009

5245.37

17

Gundia HEP

KN

Netravathi

H

200

Recommended

21/07/2012

1041.64

18

Shiggaon Lift Irrigation Scheme

KN

Varada

I

9900

Approved

21/12/2010

775

19

Dandavathy Reservoir Project

KN

Varada

I

6,933

Waiting

19/02/2012

Tamil Nadu (TN)

20

Moyar Ultimtae Ph-I

TN

Cauvery

H

25

 

Waiting

22/08/2008

 

 

 

21

Kundah PPS

TN

Cauvery

H

500

 

 

 

Recommended

18/04/2007

130.5

22

Inter-Linking of Tambiraparani, Karumeniyar and Nambiyar Rivers

TN

Multiple

I

17002

Waiting

12/11/2011

653.317

Purpose: H- Hydropower; I- Irrigation; M- Multipurpose.; NA- Not available

 

State-wise Overview of Projects in South India

 

 

Projects

Ins Cap

Irrigation

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

State wise Projects

Nos

MW

CCA (Ha)

(Ha)

Nos

Total

22

2178

2296031

57398.82

13

Kerala

4

303

0

45.031

1

TN

3

525

17002

783.82

2

KN

8

1070

215096

10656.71

6

AP

7

280

2063933

45913.26

4

 

Overview of Status of clearance of projects in South India

 

TOR & EC Status

Nos

MW

CCA

Land Req

Land Req Info available for projects

TOR approved

7

340

770031

14380.30

6

TOR not approved

0

0

0

0

0

TOR Waiting

7

905

875935

36247..32

3

TOR approved before this committee

8

933

650065

6771.21

4

Env Cl. Recommended

6

863

650065

6771.21

4

Env Cl. Waiting

2

70

0

NA

0

Env Clearance not Recommended

0

0

0

0

0

 

Basin-wise overview of projects in South India

 

Projects on basins

Nos

MW

CCA

Bharatpuzha

1

70

0

Cauvery

4

835

0

Chalakudy

1

163

0

Godavari

5

280

1534933

Kali

1

600

0

Krishna

5

0

727263

Multiple

1

0

17002

Netravathi

1

200

0

Pamba

1

30

0

Varada

2

0

16833

 

 

 


[2] See Central Water Commission’s National Register of Large Dams, 2012: http://www.cwc.gov.in/main/webpages/NRLD%20FORMAT%202012.pdf

[7] SANDRP had written to EAC about the glaring errors in the minutes of the 60th and 61st meetings of the EAC, pointing out the errors in capacities, names of places and even names of river in the minutes, but the EAC neither acknowledged the letter or errors, nor bothered to correct them.

[9] EAC has remained on rather steep learning curve on a number of issues, including on Environmental flows. It first questioned the wisdom or need for e-flows, than graduated to recommending 10% of minimum lean season flow, than 15%, later changing to 20% and now it has a little more detailed norms, still far from asking for actual assessment for each river stretch.

[11] Both the documents authored by Himanshu Thakkar and Bipin Chandra Chaturvedi, Bipin has done the detailed compilation for the two documents. Thanks a due to Parineeta Dandekar (for all the charts in addition to valuable comments, Dr Latha Anantha, Shripad Dharmadhikary and Neeraj Vagholikar for some very useful comments and suggestions.

[13] Clearance sought for adding the third 42 MW unit to the existing 84 MW project.

[14] The project is listed here since it came back before the EAC in Feb 2010 as it had yet to get NBWL clearance.

[15] The TOR clearance was only for the irrigation component in India, the main dam, barrage and headwords will all be in Nepal, which is beyond the jurisdiction of EIA notification 2006 of India.

[16] Part of Ken Beta Link River Link project phase II

[17] The Polavaram project got Environment Clearance in Oct 2005, however, came back to EAC for clearance of the embankments in Orissa and Chhattisgarh as these were not part of the proposal cleared by EAC. The Ministry of Environment and Forests had asked the project authority to get these components cleared and hence the embankment portion came to EAC for clearance. The EAC noted that there has been no public hearings conducted in Orissa and Chhattisgarh as required under EIA notification and asked project authorities to come back to EAC after conducting the public hearings. The project authorities have yet to comply with this requirement and hence the clearance to the project is yet to be recommended by the EAC.

[18] The Athirapally project, following directions by Kerala High Court to KSEB (the MoEF show cause notice of Jan 4, 2010 could also be a factor, but there is no mention of that in the EAC minutes), came back before EAC in March 2010 and was again discussed in April 2010 and July 2010, till when no conclusion could be reached by EAC and EAC had asked for more information and clarifications. There is no mention of the project in any of the subsequent minutes of meetings.