Saturday, 19 November 2011

Empowered Committee to settle issues related to Loharinag Pala Hydroelectric project in Uttarakhand

Written by Anil Singh

The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), yesterday approved the setting up of an Empowered Committee to finalise financial compensation and measures for maintaining the fragile eco-geological balance at the discontinued project site of Loharinag Pala in Uttarakhand.

Loharinag Pala Hydro Power Project is a hydroelectric Power project planned by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd to have an output capacity of 600 MW (150 MW x 4 Units). The project is located on the river Bhagirathi, theheadstream of the Ganges River at Loharinag Pala, below the confluence of the Songad River, next to NH 108 in Uttarkashi District ofUttaranchal state, India.

This is about 100 kilometres (62 mi) upstream of the controversial Tehri Dam. The work on the project was however stopped in 2009 after Professor G. D. Agrawal, one of India's eminent scientists,[4] came close to dying on the 38th day of his fast in protest of the blocking the headwaters of the sacred River Ganges and resulting ecological damage.

Taking into account the conerrns of those opposing the project, the Union Governemnt has give its nod to constituting an Empowered Committee to look into the matter. The Empowered Committee will be chaired by the Ministry of Power and comprise senior representatives from concerned Ministries. An agency would given the responsibility of implementing environmental safety measures and rejuvenate losses of ecology in and around the Loharinag Pala project site.

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