Concerned over the heavy loss of lives and property in the recent Uttarakhand floods, the Supreme Court Tuesday restrained the central and state governments from giving any further environmental or forest clearance to hydroelectric projects in the state until further orders.
It also ordered a comprehensive study of the impact of such projects in the state after underlining that 24 of the total 39 proposed projects had been found to be significantly impacting biodiversity in two sub-basins of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers.
“We are very much concerned with the mushrooming of large number of hydroelectric projects in Uttarakhand and its impact on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins. Various studies also indicate that in the upper-Ganga area... there are large and small hydro power dams. The cumulative impact of those project components like dams, tunnels, blasting, muck disposal, mining, deforestation etc. on eco-system, is yet to be scientifically examined,” said a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra.
Noting that “the adverse effects by the existing projects, projects under construction and those proposed, on the environment and ecology, calls for a detailed scientific study”, it directed the MoEF to constitute an expert body to do so.