Advocacy group takes objection to MoEF’s clearance on dams
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South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People (SANDRP), an advocacy group, has claimed that the Expert Approval Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on River Valley and Hydroelectric projects has not rejected a single hydropower and irrigation project in the past six years. A total of 262 hydropower and irrigation projects were granted permission during this period.
In a signed press release, Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP said the elaborate analysis of the 63rd meeting of the committee showed that the two projects apparently denied permission were in fact a suggestion to the projects to change their terms of reference and re-fomulate proposals. "It seems that the committee has been named Expert Approval Committee as it seems to have the expertise in approving rather than appraising the projects," he said
The detailed analysis of the meeting, showed that EAC has cleared proposals of hydropower projects with installed capacity of 49458 MW, which is about 25 per cent more than what the country has installed in about 66 years since Independence.
During the above period, it also has come to light that EAC has never rejected any final environment clearance for any project.
"Many of the projects approved happened to be cleared by other statutory authority for reasons that fell in the purview of the EAC," he said.
Also, the committee has never rejected any EIA or asked for fresh public hearings even when the EAC was given evidence of serious deficiencies in the EIA or the public hearing process. "We have sent our analysis to the MoEF officials seeking their attention on the issue," he said.
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