Supreme Court Prohibited Environmental Clearances to Hydro-Electric Projects in Uttarakhand
SC directed the Union Government and Uttarakhand Government to not grant clearances to the hydro-electric projects in Uttarakhand.
The Supreme Court of India on 13 August 2013 directed the Union Government of India and the Government of Uttarakhand to not grant any environmental clearances to the hydro-electric projects in Uttarakhand. The two-judge bench headed by Justice KS Radhakrishnan and comprising of comprising Justice Dipak Misra passed the judgement in relation to the Alaknanda Hydro Power Project.
The Apex Court ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for establishing the expert body in order to study the environmental degradation taking place by the power projects. Also, the court directed that the study should focus on the recent tragedy which claimed thousands of lives in Uttarakhand. The expert body should consist of representatives from the state government of Uttarakhand, Central Water Commission, Central Electricity Authority, WII (Wild Life Institute of India) as well as certain other bodies.
The expert body to be established, in the meanwhile, will also analyse and examine the effect of 24 new hydro-electric projects which were proposed on biodiversity of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda river basins.
Also, the Apex Court directed the Disaster Management Authority of Uttarakhand to submit a detailed report on the plan of disaster management in the state. The central as well as the state agencies were asked to submit their detailed reports by November 2013.
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.