State's 'no' to new mini hydel plants in W Ghats

State's 'no' to new mini hydel plants in W Ghats

The State government has cancelled 10 mini-hydel projects in the Western Ghats that faced legal challenges and has decided not to permit any new plants in the region. This was informed to the High Court on Wednesday.

Following the State government’s submission, the High Court disposed of a PIL petition filed by Prashant G Yavagal and the Western Ghats Environment Forum against mini-hydel projects. The submission was made by the State Forest Department and the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL). 

Satisfied by the action taken by the authorities, the division bench comprising acting Chief Justice K Sreedhar Rao and Justice abdul Nazeer disposed of the writ petitions. However, regarding one mini hydel project, by Maruthi Power Gen Private Limited, the division bench granted liberty to approach the authorities with a fresh application. The same can be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests . 

As per the affidavit filed by the State government, three power projects - the Dandeli Mini Hydel Station (MHS) with 18 mega watt (MW) capacity at Dandeli across River Kali in Uttara Kannada district; the one at Kaneri and Supa Reservoir (4 MW) in Kumbarwada of Uttara Kannada taluk; the one at Nanniruhalla (3 MW) across Nanniruhalla stream of River Sharavathi in Uttara Kannada district have been cancelled by the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL). Apart from these, Kelasi MHS (5 MW) across River Bedti at Kelasi village in Uttara Kannada district has not been commissioned by KREDL for want of approval under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

The Mavaling MHS (4 MW) across River Kali near Mavaling village of Joida taluk in Uttara Kannada district hit a roadblock as the proposal to conduct a survey has been turned down by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

Another project of the Dandeli MHS (12 MW) across River Kali has also been rejected by the State government, after the Union government informed the State that 75 hectares of forest will be submerged due to this project. 

As per the affidavit and details submitted to the High Court, four other projects across River Gangavalli (5 MW each) in Yellapur taluk have also been rejected for not obtaining forest clearance.

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