Responsive Ad Slot

TIPAIMUKH PROJECT-India considering 'forest clearance' for disputed scheme

Monday, August 29, 2011

/ Published by Simon L Infimate

New Delhi, Aug 28 ( :  Authorities in northeastern Indian state of Manipur have forwarded a proposal to the environment ministry of the central government, seeking a 'forest clearance' for the controversial 1500 MW Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric (Multi-Purpose) Project. 

State minister for power K C Venugopal recently informed the country's parliament that the Department of Forest of Manipur government forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on May 31.

He made it public in a written reply to a question from a Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha, the lower House of the country's bicameral Parliament.

The MoEF is studying the proposal from the state government in Manipur.

During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi in January 2010, her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh had assured her that "India would not take steps on the Tipaimukh Project that would adversely impact Bangladesh".

Venugopal told the Lok Sabha that the Tipaimukh Project had already been granted environment clearance by the MoEF on October 24, 2008.

He also informed that the state government of Mizoram, another northeastern state of India, was preparing document for similar forest clearance for the scheme.

The location of the proposed project is close to the inter-state border between Manipur and Mizoram.

Venugopal said that Tipaimukh Project was one of the 12 proposed hydro-electric projects in the northeastern Indian states that were waiting for environmental and 'forest' clearances from the MoEF.

The proposed projects will have a total capacity of 100,036 MW.

"Once the projects obtain all statutory and non-statutory clearances and achieve financial closure, they will be taken up for implementation," he told the House.

India's state-owned NHPC Limited last year floated a joint venture company with the state government of Manipur and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited for implementation of the Tipaimukh Project. The NHPC Ltd – formerly known as National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited – holds 69 per cent share in the joint venture while the state government of Manipur and SJVN Ltd have 5 per cent and 26 per cent stakes in it respectively.

The Tipaimukh Project was conceived as a multipurpose storage project on the Barak River in Churachandpur district of Manipur, with main objective of hydropower generation along with flood mitigation in downstream area.

The project is estimated to generate 3800 million units of electricity per annum and is likely to be completed within seven and a half years after the clearance from the Indian government's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

A section of environmentalists both in Bangladesh and India are opposed to the Tipaimukh Project.

They believe that the dam over Barak would significantly bring down flow of water in its tributaries -- Surma and Kurshiara in Bangladesh.

As hundreds of canals and major rivers, which are lifelines for people in greater Sylhet, are totally dependent on the water flow of Surma, there are apprehensions in Bangladesh that the Tipaimukh project of India could spell doom for a large part of the country.

India's Tipaimukh Project has been a major political issue in Bangladesh.
The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been repeatedly questioning the rationale of the efforts of the Awami League-led government to strengthen bilateral ties with New Delhi.

Officials in Indian government's Ministry of Power, however, maintain that the Tipaimukh Project will not have any adverse impact in Bangladesh, as it is not a water retention venture, but a run-of-the-river project.

Several social groups in Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram have long been protesting against the Tipaimukh Project and drawing attention to the risk they believe it would pose to the fragile ecology of the region.

Local ethnic communities are also apprehensive about displacement of people living in the area due to the project.

But Manipur's chief minister O Ibobi Singh last month said in the state capital Imphal that Tipaimukh project could solve the state's perennial problem of power crisis to a great extent.
Don't Miss
© all rights reserved
made with by Simon L Infimate