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Arunachal hydel project gets environmental nod
Published on 21 Feb. 2010 11:17 PM IST
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The Ministry of Environment and Forests has accorded environmental clearance to the 1750-MW Demwe Lower Hydel Project on the Lohit river in Arunachal Pradesh. The Ministry in its notification has stated that this permission has been accorded as per the provisions of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 subject to strict compliance of certain terms and conditions. The project has significance for Assam, as, it is proposed to be on the Lohit river, a major contributor to the Brahmaputra. Besides, its location in the upstream area of the Parasuram Kund, a famous Hindu pilgrimage destination has also made it open to severe popular scrutiny. The terms and conditions slapped for the purpose include the completion of the proposed catchment area treatment plan by applying the biological and engineering measures, in five years. The terms and conditions also include implementation of the relief and rehabilitation package approved by the Arunachal Pradesh Government, specially for the people affected by the project. Adequate publicity of the compensation package should be circulated in the affected villages, said the Ministry notification. The notification also said that no physical work will be initiated in the forest areas without the clearance from the Forest Department for the project. As the Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary is within 10 km distance of the project site, clearance from National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 should be obtained, said the Ministry. It also emphasised that during the construction period, continuous water should be released downstream through a separate diversion tunnel of 6 metres dia as proposed. During the operation period, continuous water should be released downstream through a separate 40 MW installed unit, which shall run 24 hours continuously to release 35 cumecs of water downstream to maintain the needs at the Parasuram Kund as well as for maintaining the aquatic life in the downstream. In order to monitor the micro-seismic activities of the area at least seven micro seismic stations should be installed. Besides, all the equipments, which are likely to generate high noise, are to be fully mollified. Consolidation and compilation of the muck should be carried-out in the muck dumping sites and the dumping sites should be above high flood level. Since the project falls in Lohit basin and at present the basin studies are going on, any recommendations that emerge from the basin studies shall be binding on the project developer in future. The project will release normal lean season flow for a period of seven days during mela (Sankranti) period in Parasuram Kund, in the month of January as per the condition stipulated by the Parashuram Kund Improvement Society. Moreover, the financial allocation for the protection of the Parasuram Kund should be enhanced from Rs 2 crore to about Rs 10 crore, said the Ministry. The environment clearance does not necessarily imply that forestry and wildlife clearance shall be granted to the project, said the notification signed by Dr S Bhowmik, Additional Director of the Ministry.

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