Sharavathy valley red over yet another hydel unit

Sharavathy valley red over yet another hydel unit

Sharavathy valley

Agitated over the rapacious destruction activities along the Western Ghats in the recent past, the environmentalists and conservationists from Malnad districts are rising against the Sharavathy pumped storage project in Sharavathy valley of Shivamogga and Uttara Kannada districts.

The ambitious project of the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) aimed at generating about 2,000 MW of hydroelectric power is expected to come up for discussion during the meeting of the State Wildlife Board scheduled for Thursday in Bengaluru.

The KPCL has sought permission from the forest department to carry out geotechnical investigations for the project between Talakalale and Gerusoppa reservoirs on Sharavathi River. The areas identified for drilling work falls within the fragile ecosystem of Sharavathy Valley Lion Tailed Macaque Sanctuary. According to documents accessed from the KPCL, of the 15 drilling points planned as part of the investigation, 12 points are located within the boundary of the Sanctuary. As the work requires permission from the National Board for Wildlife, the issue will be discussed at the state board meeting for recommendation to the Centre.

Meantime, the proposal has drawn flak from conservationists as they opine that the project would cause irreparable damage to the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats. Noted environmentalist and former member of the Western Ghats Task Force B M Kumaraswamy said, “The Sharavathi River has already been exploited to the fullest with multiple dams. Yet, the government further wants to squeeze the life out of Sharavathy. Already Thirthahalli and Hosanagar taluks have witnessed low magnitude earthquakes in recent times and officials seem to have learnt no lesson from it, as they want to prove their engineering prowess.”

 The project

The project envisaged between existing Talakalale and Gerusoppa reservoir on the downstream of Linganamakki reservoir on Sharavathi River aims to make use of the run-off water by way of pumped storage. Planned to be an underground project, the project with eight units of 250 MW each would generate about 2,000 MW power. The project, worth Rs 4,862.89 crore, requires about 153 hectares, of which 150 acres is forest area.