37 hydro-power projects allotted in ecological fragile zone : Himachal Pradesh

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In the ecological fragile zone of Lahaul & Spiti district of this hill state, as many as 37 hydro-power projects had been allotted to tap the unharnessed potential of power. This was stated by Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania while responding to a query raised by Ravi Thakur of Congress, member from Lahaul & Spiti district during the question hour today.

Minister said that projects, with a combined generation capacity of 2,292 MW, are under different stages of execution, he said.

Corporate giant Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has been allotted 420 MW hydro-power project in Reoli Dugli, the biggest in the district.

Seli Hydroelectric Power Company Ltd is executing 400 MW project over the Chenab river near Shulling village in the district.

Residents of the Lahaul Valley in 2012 knocked on the doors of the union environment and forests ministry, protesting against an upcoming hydro-power projects on the Chenab river basin.

They said the projects not only threaten to displace them but will also affect the local ecology.

“The Chenab, one of the five major river basins in Himachal, remains the least exploited basin for hydro electricity generation. The government is hell bent on killing the only living river (in the state),” said the letter.

The Chenab basin falls largely in the high-altitude region (above 2,500 metres) in Lahaul and Spiti district. The area is characterized by difficult terrain, fragile and loose mountains, prone to avalanches and landslides and falls in seismic zone-IV.

“In such an area, construction of reservoirs and tunnels will have serious implications. Any rise in the temperature and rainfall can bring havoc in the form of landslides and can cause disasters similar to the kind that happened in Leh in August 2010,” said the letter.

The mega projects coming up in Lahaul are in Miyar, Seli and Udiapur areas in the district.

Mr. Thakur sought from the minister to involve local public representatives in meeting of Local Area Development Authority (LADA) to finalize the rehabilitation plan in the affected where power projects were coming out.

Minister said that no power project is under execution in the valley so far, therefore, questions to involve the local representatives in the LADA does not arise.

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