Maheshwar hydro-power project lands up in environmental clearance mess again

This project—first proposed in 1983— continues to be marred by rehabilitation issues, with the MOEF issuing work-suspension orders and eminent activists demanding compliance with the missive

The controversies surrounding the much-delayed Maheshwar hydro-electric power project refuse to die out. In a recent development, the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) has sent a construction work suspension order to Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Ltd. While meetings are being held to reconsider the MOEF order with the prime minister, eminent personalities have written to the prime minister seeking compliance to this missive.

In a letter dated 23 April 2010, the MOEF stated that the reply submitted by Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Ltd has been reviewed and found non-satisfactory. The reasons stated were involving negligible work on resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R). Thus, the ministry demanded immediate suspension of the ongoing construction work for the project.

Later, on 10 May 2010, the MOEF wrote to the company that the directions in the earlier letter are being amended to the extent that only seven gates, which are yet to be made functional and under installation may be completed before the onset of the monsoon.

According to Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, chief minister, Madhya Pradesh, has asked prime minister Manmohan Singh to cancel the MOEF order on grounds of it being “false and baseless.” The PMO had called a meeting in this regard on 7 May 2010 and they will be meeting again today.

In a release, the NBA stated that  Rajendra Sachar, retired Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court; Kuldip Nayyar, a veteran journalist and ex-Member of Parliament; Surendra Mohan, veteran socialist leader and ex-Member of Parliament and Swami Agnivesh, President, World Council of Arya Samaj have written a joint letter to the prime minister asking him to affirm the order of the MOEF suspending the construction of Maheshwar dam, and not to let the private project promoters trample on fundamental and statutory rights of the oustees.

This hydro-electric power project was first proposed in 1983. However, it was rejected by the concerned authority in 1986. The reason for rejection was stated as non-submission of environment management plans. Later in 1994 the project was awarded environmental clearance subject to certain conditions, based on the environment management plan (EMP) submitted by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA). In 2001, the NVDA decided to hand over the project to a private player S Kumars and the environment clearance was transferred to the company.

During the same period, the MOEF constituted a monitoring committee to study the resettlement and rehabilitation compliance of this project. The committee after inspection suggested that the project authority should prepare a comprehensive R&R action plan with an implementation schedule and submit it before the financial closure is achieved after which construction work could be started. However, in 2006, the project authority started the construction work without submitting the comprehensive R&R action plan with time schedule. Thus, the MOEF ordered immediate suspension of construction work, on which the project authority managed to get a stay order from the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Thereafter, the project was in constant tussle with the environment ministry and environment groups. The recent dispute was triggered by a visit from the monitoring committee’s visit to the site. The committee expressed dissatisfaction on the rehabilitation issue.

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COMMENTS

rakesh patel

7 years ago

DEFINIETLY BAN THE CONSTRUCTION OF MAHESHWAR DAM BECAUSE TOO MUCH LOSS AS COMPARISON PROFIT & NO ANY TYPE OF REHABILISATION OFFARMERS JUST YOU THINK ABOUT HARSUD AS SAME CONDITON IN THIS PROJECT MY MSG FOR
S.R.CHOHAN (C.M.)

Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

When one reads such disturbing news that a project purposed in 1983,27 years ago is still not approved.It sis the same Gang NBA which has caused more damage to the nation and is happy to keep the poor under its tutelage. It exploits the illiterate people.
Maybe it is time we should all start burning cow dung to produce power since that might be more environmental suitable for our nation.
We talk of poverty and industrialization but have Ministers and NGO who rather see India not to develop at all.

Swiss parent to hike stake in ABB to 75%; shares soar 30%

As per the December 2009 shareholding pattern, the promoters of ABB Ltd held 52.11% stake in the company

The Swiss-based parent firm of ABB Ltd today made an open offer to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary by acquiring an additional 23% stake from the public shareholders for Rs4,366 crore, reports PTI.

Following the acquisition, ABB Asea Brown Boveri's holding in the Indian unit would go up to 75% from the existing 52.11% after acquiring shares worth Rs4,365.98 crore.

Reacting to the open offer, shares of ABB Ltd soared nearly 30% and touched an intra-day high of Rs869.

ABB Ltd said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange that ABB Asea Brown Boveri would acquire 4,85,10,997 shares, representing 22.89% stake in its Indian arm, for Rs900 a share, aggregating Rs4,365.98 crore.

The offer would open on July 8 and would close on July 27, the filing added.

As per the December 2009 shareholding pattern, the promoters of ABB Ltd held 52.11% stake in the company.

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Plan Panel sets 20,359MW capacity addition target for 2010-11

The Planning Commission had set 14,507MW power generation capacity target in 2009-10, but the actual addition was just 9,585MW

The Planning Commission today set targets to augment the country's infrastructure this fiscal, including adding 20,359 MW of power generation capacity and 2,500 km of highways, its deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said in New Delhi, reports PTI.

The goal for at least the power sector is ambitious given the failure to meet even last year's subdued target.

The Plan Panel had set 14,507MW power generation capacity target in 2009-10, but the actual addition was just 9,585MW.

Similarly, the target for highway last fiscal was 3,165km, while the actual completion was 2,008 km.

The investment target for roads has been pegged at Rs35,680 crore in 2010-11, higher than Rs29,934 crore in the last fiscal.

On the other hand, the actual investments that came in into the sector last fiscal was Rs11,608 crore.
 

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