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NGT suspends environment clearance to Nyam Jang Chhu hydro project

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, April 8 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has suspended the environment clearance (EC) accorded by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to the 780-MW Nyam Jang Chhu Hydroelectric Power Project in Arunachal Pradesh.

The NGT, in its order yesterday, said, �The EC dated 19.4.2011, is suspended till the time the studies as directed are carried out, public consultation thereon done, the EAC (Environment Appraisal Committee) considers outcome of such public consultation, carries out a fresh appraisal of proposal for grant of EC, makes recommendation to the MoEF&CC, and the MoEF&CC acts upon such recommendations in accordance with law.�

The NGT maintained that though it is true that the hydel power project provides eco-friendly renewable source of energy and its development is necessary, it is of the considered view that such development should be �sustainable development� without there being any irretrievable loss to environment. �We are also of the view that studies done should be open for public consultation in order to offer an opportunity to affected persons having plausible stake in environment to express their concerns following such studies. This would facilitate objective decision by the EAC on all environmental issues and open a way for sustainable development of the region.�

The Principal Bench of the NGT passed the above order in connection with the appeal {(No. 39 of 2012 (Save Mon Region Federation and Lobsang Choedar versus Union of India and Others)}. The appellants in the case � Save Mon Region Federation � an organisation consisting of citizens of Monpa indigenous community in Tawang district of Arunachal and Lobsang Choedar, a social activist, as well as a Buddhist Lama and chief advisor to the Federation, assailed the grant of environmental clearance dated April 19, 2012 to the construction of the 780-MW Nyam Jang Chhu hydroelectric power project in Tawang district.

The project envisages construction of 10.2-metre high and 15-metre long barrage on the eco-sensitive stretch of Nyamjang Chhu River basin near Zemithangin. The project involves construction of a 23.4-km-long and 6.2-metre diameter head race tunnel (HRT) requiring extensive tunneling in a geologically fragile landscape and comprises eight de-silting chambers and with underground power house having 6�130 MW pelton turbines. The HRT bypasses around 35-km stretch of river between barrage and the powerhouse.

The project also involves construction of captive hydropower project of 7.5 MW, Khangteng HEP to provide power during construction of 780-MW Nyam Jang Chhu project. The total submergence area of the project is 39.34 hectares and 89.527 hectares of forest land has been considered for diversion proposal for the project.

The appellants challenged the grant of EC on the grounds of faulty scoping process, faulty public consultation process, lack of application of mind by the EAC and MoEF&CC during the appraisal of the project.

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NGT suspends environment clearance to Nyam Jang Chhu hydro project

GUWAHATI, April 8 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has suspended the environment clearance (EC) accorded by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to the 780-MW Nyam Jang Chhu Hydroelectric Power Project in Arunachal Pradesh.

The NGT, in its order yesterday, said, �The EC dated 19.4.2011, is suspended till the time the studies as directed are carried out, public consultation thereon done, the EAC (Environment Appraisal Committee) considers outcome of such public consultation, carries out a fresh appraisal of proposal for grant of EC, makes recommendation to the MoEF&CC, and the MoEF&CC acts upon such recommendations in accordance with law.�

The NGT maintained that though it is true that the hydel power project provides eco-friendly renewable source of energy and its development is necessary, it is of the considered view that such development should be �sustainable development� without there being any irretrievable loss to environment. �We are also of the view that studies done should be open for public consultation in order to offer an opportunity to affected persons having plausible stake in environment to express their concerns following such studies. This would facilitate objective decision by the EAC on all environmental issues and open a way for sustainable development of the region.�

The Principal Bench of the NGT passed the above order in connection with the appeal {(No. 39 of 2012 (Save Mon Region Federation and Lobsang Choedar versus Union of India and Others)}. The appellants in the case � Save Mon Region Federation � an organisation consisting of citizens of Monpa indigenous community in Tawang district of Arunachal and Lobsang Choedar, a social activist, as well as a Buddhist Lama and chief advisor to the Federation, assailed the grant of environmental clearance dated April 19, 2012 to the construction of the 780-MW Nyam Jang Chhu hydroelectric power project in Tawang district.

The project envisages construction of 10.2-metre high and 15-metre long barrage on the eco-sensitive stretch of Nyamjang Chhu River basin near Zemithangin. The project involves construction of a 23.4-km-long and 6.2-metre diameter head race tunnel (HRT) requiring extensive tunneling in a geologically fragile landscape and comprises eight de-silting chambers and with underground power house having 6�130 MW pelton turbines. The HRT bypasses around 35-km stretch of river between barrage and the powerhouse.

The project also involves construction of captive hydropower project of 7.5 MW, Khangteng HEP to provide power during construction of 780-MW Nyam Jang Chhu project. The total submergence area of the project is 39.34 hectares and 89.527 hectares of forest land has been considered for diversion proposal for the project.

The appellants challenged the grant of EC on the grounds of faulty scoping process, faulty public consultation process, lack of application of mind by the EAC and MoEF&CC during the appraisal of the project.

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