NEW DELHI, Jan 29 � Amid protests from green activists, the Environment Ministry is expected to take a call shortly on a proposed mega hydel project across Arunachal Pra-desh�s Lohit river, which originates from China.
Sources told PTI that the PMO is in favour of giving green clearance to the 1,750 MW Demwe Lower Hydro electric project, as demanded by the State government.
The issue was discussed threadbare at a recent meeting of a high-level committee, chaired by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.
�The matter cannot be delayed any further,� the Minister said at the meeting of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), after hearing the versions of State government officials and environmentalists who are members of the panel.
While the State government argued that construction of the project is vital for Arunachal Pradesh�s water and energy security, environmentalists countered it saying the project would have a serious impact on the ecology, wildlife and also the livelihood of people living upstream and downstream in neighbouring Assam.
Strongly supporting the project, Arunachal Pradesh government officials, who were present at the NBWL meeting, said that �Lohit river flows through Tibet and India and not limited to Indian Himalayas only�� an indication that China could also build a dam in the river.
The sources said there is a strong feeling in the government that if the dam is built without any delay, the people of the State would get �first user rights� as per international norms.
Earlier, a two-member panel, consisting of NBWL Standing Committee member Asad Rahmani and top Arunachal Pradesh Conservator of Forests Pratap Singh, had inspected the site and prepared two separate reports about the impact of the proposed project.
In his report, Rahmani has said that the dam would have a serious impact on Kamleng Wildlife Sanctuary close to it. Rahmani�s view was supported by a majority of the NBWL standing committee members. � PTI