NGT Obligates Hydroelectric Projects to Release Minimum Water Downstream, KMSS Welcomes Move
GUWAHATI: Hydroelectric projects of the country are under an obligation to release minimum water downstream irrespective of the date of its commission. This was directed by a bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
All state pollution control boards have been directed by the tribunal to ensure the same, saying business or commercial interests cannot override the requirement of maintaining riverine ecology.
o;This is a mandate of ‘Sustainable Development’ which is part of the right to life. Accordingly, the tribunal directed compliance by all the Hydro-Electric Projects (HEPs), including in states of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal (North Region), Assam and Jammu & Kashmir,” the bench said.
Environmental flow describes the quantity, timing and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and wellbeing that depend on these ecosystems.
The tribunal junked the submission of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation seeking exemption from releasing water to maintain 15 per cent e-flow (the quantity and timing of water that is essential for the river to perform its ecological functions) during the lean period, reported national media.
Dharjya Kowar, General Secretary of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), who has been protesting against the construction of mega dams in the northeastern region and especially the Lower Subansiri mega dam project being constructed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd, speaking to G Plus said, "We have been protesting for this for many years now. KMSS has been saying that after 168 mega dams are constructed, Assam will turn into a desert."
"This is a very welcome move from the National green Tribunal. But just regulating will not be enough, the tribunal should stop the construction of mega dams and instead smaller dams should be made if the riverine ecology is to be protected and the river pollution is to be stopped," he added.
- National Green Tribunal
- Sustainable Development
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