Monday, May 9, 2011

World Bank's Luhri hydel project in India faces green opposition

Luhri hydel project faces green opposition
Posted by Baldev S. Chauhan, MyHimachal, Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Environmental activists and local villagers have questioned the proposed
building of the World Bank funded 775 MW Luhri project by SJVNL in
Himachal Pradesh.

"The environment clearance public hearings for the project were
organised from 5 to 7 May at various places of Shimla, Kullu and Mandi
districts," Manshi Asher a top environmental activist said today.

"While the first two public hearings saw stiff local opposition as well
as objections by environmental activists, it was the hearing held
yesterday at Theksu, Kullu which really faced the heat and had to be
finally cancelled by the government," said Asher.

The proposed Rs 4795 crore project involves construction of a 86 m high
concrete gravity dam (with gross reservoir capacity of 35 million cubic
meter) from which 38.14 km long twin tunnels of 9 m diameter will bring
water to an underground power house about 40 km downstream of the dam site.

"The reservoir of the project will submerge 153 hectares of land. Total
land to be acquired is 290 hectares. More than 27 villages of 3
districts will be impacted by the project," said Asher.

"Locals have been raising a lot of crucial issues relating to the
impacts of this project.The disappearance of Satluj in a stretch of 20
km will impact local climate which is already facing the impacts of
global warming," Asher claimed.

Farmers in Kumarsain and Seraj areas raised concerns about facing a
drought and their apple crop being impacted.

At the Kullu public hearing, Rakesh Singha, leader of the CPM presented
his strong objections to all such tunnel projects.

"But it was at Parlog, Karsog where the tunnel of the proposed project
is to be built the real opposition unfolded. Around 1000 people gathered
here on 7th May and shouted slogans against the project," said Asher.

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