Union officials inspect hydel project

A team of officials from the Union environment and forest department visited Hongadahall and Yadakumari on the Western Ghats for inspection of the hydro-electric power plants under construction on Friday.

Environmentalists and local people had gathered at the spot learning about the officials’ visit. But, they said, they were disappointed as the officials were not ready to listen to them. They also objected to the officials using the vehicles of the private company instead of the forest department vehicles.

The team paid a visit to the plants in view of the high court’s direction to submit a report before January 23, when a case filed by environmentalists against the implementation of the projects would come up for hearing.

The team had chief conservator of forest Vijaykumar Gogi and conservators Somasekhar and Murali as members. They did not reveal anything to mediapersons. They said they cannot give any information as the case was in the court and they would report to the court.

Background

The state government had approved proposals by a few private companies for production of power in Sakleshpur taluk. However, a stay order had been issued by the court for the projects following protests by environmentalists. But, Maruti Power Zen Company had appealed to the court that 70 per cent of the works on two of its project was already done, so permission should be given to complete it.

The court allowed the company to continue with a condition that the company should abide by the final verdict on the case.

Meanwhile, some environmentalists filed a public interest litigation in the court claiming that the company had not even completed 50 per cent of the works but was misleading the court by providing false information.

So, on January 6, the court had directed the government to send a high-powered committee to inspect the spot and report.

It may recalled that vice-president of state wildlife conservation board Anil Kumble and member Sanjay Gubbi, who had visited the spot some months back, had opined that the power projects would affect the environment badly.

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