19 Apr 2012

Power projects were very essential for the development of the state:Vijay Bahuguna

Delhi/Dehradun, April 17:
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said that the hydro power projects which had already obtained clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment & Forest and other technical clearance should not be closed down for a mere perceived feelings of some people.

Chief Minister Bahuguna, speaking at a meeting of National Ganga River Basin Authority chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 7-Race Course, New Delhi asserted that the power projects were very essential for the development of the state and they played pivotal role in improving the economy of the state. For Uttarakhand, River Ganga is very sacred as the livelihood of people depended on it, he said. Uttarakhand had always made sacrifices for conservation of environment in the national interest and the people's rights to improvement in their living standard could not be ignored. Several hydro power projects were closed down owing to protests by certain people though clearance was obtained from the Union Ministry of Environment and other technical permission obtained. He rued that those projects were near to completion and were shelved without any relevant reason. Mr. Bahuguna demanded that those projects be restarted.

Chief Minister Bahuguna disclosed to the Authority that the State Cabinet had passed a proposal in support of hydro power projects. He said that the State Government had, in a recently held meeting, reached to a common consensus with the representatives of various political parties in the issue of hydro power projects. All of them had described power projects necessary but maintaining the sanctity of River Ganga for the development of the state. CM Bahuguna said that the meeting was also attended by senior BJP Leader and Rajya Sabha MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari. He said that other BJP Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay who could not attend the meeting due to some unavoidable reason too had expressed his consent in a phone call. He said that no compensation would suffice the power generation. Chief Minister said that the experts could decide on the matters pertaining to discharge amount of water to maintain incessant flow of the river and meet requirements of local people. He said that the National Ganga River Basin Authority could monitor this through its agency. Power generation could be suspended temporarily on religious occasion but shelving almost complete projects forever on sentimental ground was not in interest of the State. Looking into the global warming, hydro-projects are the best option for safety of environment, he said. CM also urged the Centre to restart Loharinagpala, Pala Maneri and Bhaironghat projects on River Bhagirathi that were shelved earlier.
Chief Minister Bahuguna, opposing declaration of 135 km long area between Gomukh and Uttarkashi an Eco-Sensitive Zone, exhorted that current regulations were sufficient to regulate development in the area. He observed that more then one lakh population residing in 118 villages could not be deprived of their rights. He said that unanimously passed resolution in this regard was forwarded to the Centre on March 29, 2011. Mr. Bahuguna urged the Centre to consider financial condition of the state and reduce the state's contribution in all the NGDRA projects and Current Expenditure to 90:10 in place of 70:30. He also urged to increase the duration of maintenance expenses support from 5 to 10 years.

Chief Minster Bahuguna talking on the complete ban of mining said that only 4 per cent depression was carried in River Ganga. He said that querying was conducted in the state only after environmental approval. He said that total ban would not only result in increase in the costs of construction materials but also adversely affect the employment opportunities. He pointed out that in case of none querying, the level of riverbed would drastically rise every year that would increase possibility of flood in Haridwar and Rishikesh areas.
Chief Minister Bahuguna interacting with the media persons after the meeting said that he had a great respect for Sant Community of India and people connected to the service of River Ganga. He urged them to keep in mind the development of Uttarakhand and think of welfare of the state maintaining balance between development and environment conservation.

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