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Environment ministry not keen on Tipaimukh hydroelectric project

Times Of India (New Delhi), 10th JUne, 2013
 

A controversial hydroelectric project in the northeast may run into rough weather with the environment ministry hesitant to grant green clearance to the project which involves cutting 78 lakh trees and 27,000 bamboo columns.

The construction of the proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project (HEP) downstream of the confluence of river Barak and the Tuivai in Manipur would lead to massive destruction of ecology.

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), an Environment Ministry panel, has recommended clearance of the Rs 9211 Crores project located near Manipur Mizoram border, official sources said.

However, a final decision on the project is to be taken by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

According to sources, Environment Ministry is hesitant to grant clearance to the project as it feels that no compensatory mechanism would help in mitigating the loss caused by erasing of forests --a habitat of endangered species-- from a huge area.

Implementation of project would lead to chopping off over 78 lakh trees and 27,000 bamboo columns from over 25000 hectares of forest land in the state, officials said.

Green activists say that these forests are critical habitats of many endangered species including barking deer, gibbons, leopards, grey sibia, serow and the rufous-necked hornbill--the state bird of Manipur.

The project was signed in October 2011 in the presence of then Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and top National Hydro Power Company (NHPC) officials.

It is being executed as a joint venture of the NHPC, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited and the Manipur government.

The project envisages construction of 162.80 metre high rock fill dam, with annual estimated generation of 3,805.74 million units in a 90 per cent dependable year with an installed capacity of 6X250 MW, with firm power generation of 434.44 MW.