The National Green Tribunal today sought response from the government on a plea challenging the construction of the 300 MW Lakhwar multi-purpose project being built by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL).
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notice to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Water Resources and Uttarkahand Jal Vidyut Nigam on the plea of members of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.
The Tribunal issued notices while hearing the plea of Bhim Singh Rawat and Manoj Kumar Misra who have sought stay on construction of 204 metre high concrete dam with a 40 km long reservoir on river Yamuna near Lohari village in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand.
According to the plea, the environmental approval letter granted by MoEF in 1987 was an administrative approval to the composite Lakhwar-Vyasi project.
"Subsequently, the two projects were bifurcated and sought to be developed separately. It is pertinent to note that the Vyasi HEP, a 2x60 MW run-of-the-river hydroelectric project downstream of Lakhwar HEP, was appraised in accordance with the EIA Notification and granted Environment Clearance on 7-09-2007.
"The construction works of the Vyasi HEP are underway. ...UJVNL had sought for an environmental clearance (EC) from the MoEF for the Lakhwar Project. The expert appraisal committee (EAC) had examined the proposal for the Lakhwar Project in its meeting on 11 and 12 November, 2010, in which several issues were raised," the plea, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, said.
It alleged that there has been no assessment of the impacts of the construction and operation of the Lakhwar project "vide cumulative impact assessment" and there have also never been any "public hearings, consultations or expert appraisal" of the project.
"The project was not recommended for EC and subsequent to the meeting, the project proponent neither satisfied the EAC on these issues, nor went back to the EAC. Hence the issues raised by EAC remain unresolved till date and no fresh Environment Clearance for the project was issued,"
"A perusal of the approval letter clearly indicates that there was no evaluation of the project in terms of its environmental costs and impacts, as required under the EIA Notification," the plea said.