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Chief Secretaries meet on drinking water for Delhi

Officials of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi are to meet next week over the construction of a multi-billion rupee hydro-power dam project.



Shimla: Senior officials of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi are to meet next week over the construction of a multi-billion rupee hydro-power dam project in Himachal Pradesh that is meant to supply water to Delhi.

Himachal Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy said here on Saturday that he would meet his Uttarakhand and Delhi counterparts on July 5 to speed up construction of the project, which has hit roadblocks repeatedly, and also discuss issues leading to the delay.

The Rs 3,600 crore project, to be constructed on a tributary of the Yamuna river in Sirmaur district, is meant to supply 275 million gallons per day to Delhi and also generate 40 MW of electricity for Himachal.

Official sources said the chief secretaries would also look into the viability of the project as the Ministry of Environment and Forests has estimated environmental and rehabilitation cost of the project at Rs 1,500 crore.

They said that the huge environmental and rehabilitation cost besides the project construction cost has put a question mark on viability of the project that is mainly aimed to quench the thirst of the people of Delhi.

Water from the Renuka dam will be released into the Yamuna river, from where it will flow to Haryana`s Hathinikund barrage and finally reach Delhi.

The Delhi government has already given Rs 214.83 crore and Haryana Rs 25 crore to the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL), a public sector undertaking executing the project, to start the construction work.

The project has hit a number of environmental roadblocks.

In a major setback, the National Green Tribunal, a judicial body hearing environment-related cases, in an interim order on July 28 last year directed the HPPCL to stay the land acquisition process in view of the dispute in total land requirement and the project`s social impact.

This is the second major setback for the project in less than a year.

The ministry of environment and forests had on August 31, 2010, objected to submersion of 775 hectares of forest land due to construction of the dam.

The ministry`s communication said: "The recommendations of the forest advisory committee (of the ministry) were placed for approval before the ministry, which has declined to accept them, as the proposal involves high-density forest and requires felling of a very large number of trees."

BK Kaushal, the project general manager, said: "Land acquisition process is on, but we have not awarded compensations of Rs 200 crore due to the stay by the Green Tribunal."

He said a fresh forest clearance proposal with minimum forest land diversion has been submitted with the ministry. "We are awaiting its clearance."

A senior official associated with the project said that during the meeting of the chief secretaries, a proposal would be mooted to jointly approach the ministry to get the environment clearance, a major hurdle in the project execution.

As per an agreement signed in 1994, water from the Renuka dam, a national status project located some 250 km from Delhi, will be released into the Yamuna river, from where it will flow to Haryana`s Hathinikund barrage and finally reach Delhi.

IANS

From Zee News

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