The Union ministry for environment and forests has once again rejected forest clearance to the 18-MW Dandeli mini-hydel power project proposed by the Murdeshwar Power Corporation Ltd (MPCL) across the Kali river in Karnataka's Uttar Kannada district.
Earlier on June 21, 2006, the ministry had rejected diversion of 57.51 ha of forestland in favour of MPCL on environmental grounds (see 'Under review', Down To Earth , Oct 15, 2006). But within three weeks of its decision, the ministry decided to have a "fresh" look at the project under requests from the state government. On October 17, it sent a former Indian Forest Service officer, S Sankaramurthy for a site visit. In the report, Sankaramurthy has noted that "the forests on either side of the river, and in the many islands, below the proposed weir, is rich in wildlife... If the weir is constructed, about 9 km of the river below the weir will be dry for most part of the year". Basing on the report, the ministry's forest advisory committee reconsidered the project and once more denied to divert the forestland.
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