As told to Parliament (February 2, 2023): Tapovan-Vishnugad power project far away from Joshimath, claims minister

Experts are of the opinion that the 520 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad project is part of the reason for the soil collapse

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 06 February 2023
संसद में आज: किसानों को अधिक उपज वाले बीजों के लिए दी जा रही है सब्सिडी

No large hydropower project lies close to Joshimath town. The nearest power project, Tapovan-Vishnugad Hydro Electric Project (HEP), is also far away from the site where subsidence occurred in the recent past. Additionally, Tapovan Vishnugad HEP remains unaffected due to the subsidence incident in the Joshimath region, claimed RK Singh, minister of power and new and renewable energy, while responding to a question in the Lok Sabha.

However, experts are of the opinion that the 520 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad project is part of the reason for the soil collapse. The underground tunnel of the Tapovan-Vishnugad HEP has hollowed the area near Joshimath, according to experts.

Currently, 30 large HEPs (above 25 MW installed capacity) with an aggregate installed capacity of 11,137.50 megawatts (MW) are being developed in the Himalayan belt across different states in the country.

Of these, 23 projects with an aggregate capacity of 10,381.5 MW are under active construction. Additionally, seven projects with a total capacity of 756 MW are held up, the minister said.

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, minister of state in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), while responding to another question on the reckless development in the Himalayan region, told the Rajya Sabha that the Ministry has delineated a procedure for impact assessment.

A comprehensive assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the projects is mandated under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, Choubey added.

Cracks have been observed in 863 buildings and after considering the safety of people, 296 families with 995 members have been shifted to safer places, minister of state in the Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh, told while responding to another question the Rajya Sabha.

The State government has issued orders for payment of Rs 100,000 as an advance for rehabilitation and Rs 50,000 as displacement allowance to each affected family.

For this purpose, Rs 45 crore has been released. As of January 30, 2023, a total of 235 affected families have been distributed Rs 3.50 crore as relief assistance, he added.

Clean Ganga mission

A comprehensive set of interventions has been taken up for the rejuvenation of river Ganga and its tributaries under the Namami Ganga Programme, BishweswarTudu, minister of state for Jal Shakti (water), told the Lok Sabha.

The interventions include wastewater treatment, solid waste management, riverfront management (ghats and crematoria development), afforestation, biodiversity conservation, etc.

So far, 409 projects have been taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 32,912.40 crore, of which 232 projects have been completed and made operational, said Tudu.

Most of the projects pertain to the creation of sewage infrastructure, as untreated domestic/industrial wastewater is the main reason for the pollution of the river. Some 177 sewerage infrastructure projects at the cost of Rs 26,673.06 crore have been taken up.

The projects aim to create and rehabilitate sewage treatment plants with a capacity of processing 5,269.87 million litres per day and laying around a 5,213.49 km sewerage network, Tudu added.

Solar cities

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has requested all states/Union Territories (UT) to identify at least one city to be developed as a ‘solar city’.

So far, 26 States/UTs have identified potential solar cities. Chhattisgarh government has identified New Raipur and the Tamil Nadu government has not yet communicated on this, RK Singh told the Lok Sabha.

Population control in wild animals

MoEFCC has approved a project at the cost of Rs 10.65 crore for population management of species involved in human-wildlife conflict.

The project includes a study on immune contraceptive measures for population management of four species: Elephant, wild pig, Rhesus macaque and Nilgai, Choubey told the Rajya Sabha.

Rejuvenation of rivers

National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board has entrusted the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dehradun, to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the rejuvenation of thirteen major Indian rivers.

The rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Luni, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna and Cauvery would be rejuvenated through forestry interventions. The DPR has been forwarded to the concerned state for implementation, Choubey told the Rajya Sabha.

Management of e-waste

There are 567 e-waste recyclers/dismantlers in 22 States/UTs with a cumulative annual capacity of 1,722,624.27 tonnes per annum. Of this, 208 e-waste recyclers have a total installed recycling capacity of 10,68,837.87 tonnes per annum, Bhupender Yadav, minister for MoEFCC, told the Rajya Sabha.

The e-waste generation from 21 types of notified electrical and electronic equipment in the financial year 2021-22 was estimated at 1,601,155.36 tonnes. The quantity of e-waste collected and processed during 2021-22 is 527,131.57 tonnes, the minister added.

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