New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister
Shivraj Singh Chouhan has requested Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to revoke the order of the Environment Ministry to
suspend work on the Maheshwar Hydro Electric project over
allegations of non-compliance with some conditions imposed in
the initial environmental clearance.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister today, Chouhan
said that the stoppage of the project at this juncture would
result in a loss of 7.2 lakhs units of power per day starting
in November 2010 and denial of 360 MLD water for the urban
areas of Dewas and Indore.
"An investment of over Rs 2,500 crore has been made on
the power project and over Rs 517 crore for the water supply
project," he wrote.
Chouhan further said that the Prime Minister would
agree that both power and water were vital for development and
"arbitrary action by the environment ministry at a critical
stage of project implementation was extremely detrimental to
the planning and development process".
The Chief Minister alleged such action was
anti-development and anti-poor.
He claimed in the letter that the ministry had
continuously threatened shutting down of this project, despite
the state`s repeated assurance about the adequate
rehabilitation of the project affected families.
The state government, an official release quoting the
letter said, was "compelled to think that the environment
ministry was driven by some agenda which leads it to
unreasonable and arbitrary obstruction in development projects
of which Maheshwar was only one example".
The ministry, the letter said, had imposed the
condition that two wildlife sanctuaries would be created to
compensate for the submergence at Maheshwar, when there was no
forest land at all in the area to be submerged.
Chouhan has said that this being run off the river
project, it would cause submergence only after the gates are
closed. Therefore there was no need to suspend the work as
fulfilment of the conditions could be ensured before the
closure of the gates.
The Chief Minister wrote that he attached utmost
importance to just and proper resettlement of the Project
Affected Families and had given assurance that no submergence
would be allowed unless the resettlement was completed.
He urged the PM to give serious attention to this
matter in order to revoke the "arbitrary" order and if
necessary, to convene a meeting to resolve the matter.