The National Green Tribunal today ordered an interim stay on land acquisition process by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) for Renuka Dam Project in the state’s Sirmaur district. Hearing a petition filed by a local challenging the environmental clearances given to the project in October 2009, the Tribunal passed the order after the counsel for the petitioner argued that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project was totally inadequate and suffered from severe discrepancies.
The figures of the total area to be acquired for the project and the total number of families to be affected were not given correctly in the EIA report and the affidavit filed by HPPCL in the court contained three different sets of data, advaocate Ritwick Dutta alleged.
While the clearnace was granted for 1,477 hectares of land, the HPPCL was now claiming that the total land required for the project would be 2,239 hectares.
Similarly, the EIA stated that only 308 families will be directly affected by the project but the current HPPCL list puts this figure at more than 1000 which too was a tentative figure.
“How can the project be accorded any clearances or move forward when the baseline data was absent or false?” He mentioned that the Forest Clearance for the project was rejected by the MoEF in August 2010, almost a year ago. It claimed that 37 villages would lose their livelihoods and land.
The tribunal fixed September 1 as next date of hearing in the case.
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