Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 15 October 2013 constituted an expert committee to study whether the environmental degradation caused by hydro-electric projects on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers led to Uttarakhand floods.
The expert committee will be headed by Prof. Ravi Chopra, Director of People’s Science Institute, Dehradun. The committee consists 17 members.
The terms of reference of the Expert Committee are:
1.The committee will examine the extent to which the projects were responsible for the Uttarakhand floods.
2.Committee will also examine the impact of the proposed 24 hydropower projects on the biodiversity of the region and look into the degradation caused by functioning as well as on-going hydro-projects.
3.The committee will also suggest suitable environmental safeguard measures to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts in respect of ongoing projects for which Environment Clearance have been granted including tourism projects and also suggest changes in project parameters if they feel it necessary.
4.The committee will also draft a Himalayan Policy for Uttarakhand keeping in mind the unique ecological, social and cultural characteristics of the state and suggest environment friendly development activities.
5.The MoEF has given the committee a period of three months to study the impact and submit a final report by 14 January 2014.
Uttrakhand in the third week of June 2013 was stuck by flash floods and landslides. During this natural disaster in the state, thousands of people lost their life and various remained stranded. Rescue operations by Indian Army were carried out in the state. The worst affected region of Uttarakhand was Kedarnath, which is a popular Hindu shrine and receives lakhs of tourists every year during June and July.
When: 15 October 2013