Assessment of the status of environment and forest clearances of hydropower projects on river Mandakini – A report by MoEF

Studying the environmental impact of Phata-Byung & Singoli-Bhatwari hydro power projects on the river Mandakini. Is it actually a threat?

This report by MoEF regarding the environmental impact of Phata-Byung & Singoli-Bhatwari hydro power projects on the river Mandakini deals with the additional safeguards and proper monitoring & supervision to help protect the environment in these project areas. It says that since a fairly large portion of the works has been taken up it may not be worth to abandon the project. It has proposed certain remedial measures to mitigate the damage if caused to the environment and local villagers. 

The Phata-Byung and Singoli-Bhatwari hydro power projects, are Run of the River (RoR) projects on the river Mandakini. The series of RoR projects proposed and under construction as a part of cascade development are to generate electrical energy which is considered to be clean power as it is non-polluting and renewable in nature.

The various issues associated with Phata-Byung and Singoli-Bhatwari hydro power projects have been examined in the background of environmental and forests clearances granted to these projects. In addition to the existing conditions as stipulated in the environmental clearance granted by the MoEF a number of suggestions were proposed for incorporation such as -

  • To ensure that river must flow in its natural condition in the stretch of about 15 km, a provision of ten per cent of minimum flow during lean season should be provided for both the projects. A proper display of water flow from the dam site into the river Mandakini should be put in place so that discharge value is accessible to public for both the projects.
  • Since muck disposal sites are located in close vicinity of the Mandakini river, the retaining/ protective measures need to be strengthened to mitigate the spillage of excavated material, in case of any eventuality including flash flood/ heavy flow.
  • In this regard, the reclamation work should commence as soon as the dumping of excavated material at muck disposal sites is over. The reclamation should be carried out systematically and in a scientific manner using geo-textile and plantation of suitable native species to prevent erosion/ surface runoff and for stabilization of reclaimed area. A detailed time bound reclamation plan in this context should be submitted and implemented.
  • After the completion of the projects the vacant land available should be used for plantation wherever possible at the cost of user agency. This plantation should be in addition to the afforestation proposed in the conditions stipulated in the forest clearances under the Forest Conservation Act.

To read more, download the report here:

 

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