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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Srinagar Hydro Electric Project (SHEP) located in Tehri / Pauri Garhwal district of Uttar Pradesh was a project envisaged by the then Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board (UPSEB) on river Alaknanda, which was basically run-of-the-river scheme.= In the Executive Summary of Chaturvedi Report, on the question of ‘Environmental Impact of Projects’, reads as follows: 17. Development of new hydropower projects has impact on environment, ecology, biodiversity, both terrestrial & aquatic and economic and social life. 69 hydropower projects with a capacity of 9,020.30 MW are proposed in Bhagirathi and Alaknanda basins. This includes 17 projects which are operational with a capacity of 2,295.2 MW. In addition, 26 projects with a capacity of 3,261.3 MW (including 600 MW Lohari Nagpala hydropower project, work on which has been suspended by Government decision) which were under construction, 11 projects with a capacity of 2,350 MW CEA/TEC clearances and 16 projects with a capacity of 1,673.8 MW under development. 4.18 The implementation of the above 69 hydropower projects has extensive implications for other needs of this society and the river itself. It is noticed that the implementation of all the above projects will lead to 81% of River Bhagirathi and 65% of River Alaknanda getting affected. Also there are a large number of projects which have very small distances between them leaving little space for river to regenerate and revive. We are also deeply concerned with the recent tragedy, which has affected the Char Dham area of Uttarakhand. Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIG) recorded 350mm of rain on June 15-16, 2013. Snowfall ahead of the cloudburst also has contributed to the floods resulting in the burst on the banks of Chorabari lake near Kedarnath, leading to large scale calamity leading to loss of human lives and property. The adverse effect of the existing projects, projects under construction and proposed, on the environment and ecology calls for a detailed scientific study. Proper Disaster Management Plan, it is seen, is also not in place, resulting in loss of lives and property. In view of the above mentioned circumstances, we are inclined to give following directions: 1) We direct the MoEF as well as State of Uttarakhand not to grant any further environmental clearance or forest clearance for any hydroelectric power project in the State of Uttarakhand, until further orders. 2) MoEF is directed to constitute an Expert Body consisting of representatives of the State Government, WII, Central Electricity Authority, Central Water Commission and other expert bodies to make a detailed study as to whether Hydroelectric Power Projects existing and under construction have contributed to the environmental degradation, if so, to what extent and also whether it has contributed to the present tragedy occurred at Uttarakhand in the month of June 2013. 3) MoEF is directed to examine, as noticed by WII in its report, as to whether the proposed 24 projects are causing significant impact on the biodiversity of Alaknanda and Bhagirath River basins. 4) The Disaster Management Authority, Uttarakhand would submit a Report to this Court as to whether they had any Disaster Management Plan is in place in the State of Uttarakhand and how effective that plan was for combating the present unprecedented tragedy at Uttarakhand. 52. Reports would be submitted within a period of three months. Communicate the order to the Central and State Disaster Management Authority, Uttarakhand. 53. In view of above, civil appeals and transferred cases are disposed of.

                          PUBLISHED IN   http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40641                                   
 REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6736  OF 2013@
                 (SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NO.362 OF 2012)


ALAKNANDA HYDRO POWER CO. LTD.             ……APPELLANT

                                   Versus

ANUJ JOSHI & ORS.                               …….RESPONDENTS
      WITH
                     Civil Appeal Nos.6746-6747  of 2013
                (Arising out of SLP(C) No.5849-5850 of 2012)
                                     and
                        T.C. (C) No.55 to 57 of 2013


                               J U D G M E N T

K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.

      Leave granted.

2.    Srinagar Hydro Electric  Project  (SHEP)  located  in  Tehri  /  Pauri Garhwal  district of Uttar Pradesh was  a  project  envisaged  by  the  then Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board (UPSEB) on river Alaknanda, which  was basically run-of-the-river scheme.

3.    The Techno-Economic approval of the scheme was granted for 200  MW  by
the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), a  competent  authority  exercising
powers under Section 29 of  the  Electricity  (Supply)  Act,  1948,  in  its
meeting held on 6.11.1982, subject to the environmental clearance  from  the
Ministry of Environment.   SHEP was later segregated from twenty  two  other
Ganga Valley projects.  A separate Environment Impact Assessment  (EIA)  was
made on the SHEP on 9.2.1985.    No  adverse  affect  had  been  noticed  on
environment in that assessment  on  setting  up  of  the  Project.   On  the
contrary, it was felt that such a scheme would add to the  richness  of  the
scenic beauty by creation of beautiful lakes attracting  more  tourists  and
also meet the energy requirements  of  the  State  and  could  be  completed
within a short span of five years.   Dhari Devi Temple, it was noticed,  was
likely to be  submerged  in  water,  therefore  was  also  considered  while
considering the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).    It  was  suggested
that temple would  be  raised  and  created  with  a  pleasing  architecture
suiting the surroundings.


4.    The Ministry of Environment and Forest  (MoEF)  granted  Environmental
Clearance for the project to UPSEB vide its letter dated 03.05.1985  subject
to certain safeguards.
 The project involved diversion  of  forest  land  to
the extent of 338.38 hectares which was cleared  by  the  Forest  Department
vide proceeding No. 8-227/86-PC dated 15th April, 1987, in  accordance  with
Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation)  Act,  1980.  
The  Project  involved
construction of concrete gravity dam affording a gross  storage  of  8  Mcum
water conductor system designed for 660 cumecs and a  power  house  with  an
installation of six units  of  55  MW  each.   UPSEB  later  carried  out  a
detailed  study  and  submitted  a   report   stating   that   taking   into
consideration the peaking capacity, the installed capacity  of  the  project
would be increased from 200 MW to 330 MW.   CEA  approved  and  granted  the
Techno-economic clearance in the  enhanced  capacity  of  330  MW  vide  its
letter  dated  18.12.1987.  
Planning  Commission  vide  its  letter   dated
29.01.1988    accorded    the   investment      approval.     UPSEB  started
the work but due to the paucity of funds the  project  could  not  make  any
effective progress.


5.    The Government of India, in the meanwhile, had liberalized the  policy
to encourage private participation in power development.  Consequently,  the
UP Government  following  the  above  mentioned  policy  decided  to  invite
private investment in the  development  of  energy  sector  especially  with
regard to the Srinagar Hydro  Electric  Project.   Consequently,  the  State
Government had entered into a Memorandum of  Understanding  (MOU)  with  M/s
Duncan Industries Ltd. on 27th August, 1994 for development of  the  project
and in terms of the MOU,  M/s  Duncan  Industries  Ltd.  had  established  a
generating company ‘Duncan North Hydro Power Co. Ltd.’.  The project was  an
ongoing project and most of the infrastructure required  for  the  execution
of the project had already been  arranged  by  the  State  Government.   The
Department of Energy and Government of Uttar Pradesh then wrote to the  MoEF
by letter dated 04.09.1997 to transfer the environmental  clearance  earlier
granted to  the  UPSEB  to  the  Duncans  so  that  the  safeguards  against
environmental degradation while clearing the project  might  be  implemented
by the Duncans.


6.    M/s Duncan submitted a revised EIA report  and  DPR  to  the  MoEF  on
25.01.1996 and it was  also  conveyed  that  the  project  of  the  enhanced
capacity of 330 MW had to be transferred to  the  Duncans.   MoEF  following
the letters dated 25.01.1996  and  18.06.1998  on  the  subject  transferred
environmental clearance to Duncans for 330 MW on 27.07.1999 subject  to  the
condition that the conditions  stipulated  in  the  environmental  clearance
already granted and any  other  conditions,  if  stipulated  in  future  for
protection of the environment would  be  fulfilled  by  Duncans.   CEA  also
issued the Techno Economic clearance for implementation of the Project  vide
it letter dated 14.06.2000 to Duncans.

7.    The Duncans had also given up the  project  after  carrying  out  some
work and in its place came the appellant -  Alaknanda  Hydro  Power  Company
Ltd. (AHPCL).  Request was then made to the MoEF by AHPCL  for  transfer  of
the environmental clearance  granted  to  330  MW  Srinagar  Hydro  Electric
Project in its favour.  Request was favourably considered by  the  MoEF  and
vide  communication  J-12011/6/96/  IA-I  dated   27th   March   2006   MoEF
transferred the environmental clearance in favour of AHPCL stating  that  it
was with the approval of the competent authority.

8.    First respondent along with few others filed Writ Petition  (PIL)  No.
137/2009 before the High Court of  Uttarakhand  at  Nainital  to  quash  the
above mentioned order and sought a CBI  inquiry  relating  to  the  enhanced
capacity  of  330  MW  mentioned  in  the  letters  dated   27.07.1999   and
27.03.2006.  Direction was  also  sought  for  against  AHPCL  to  stop  the
construction of the Hydro Power Project and  also  for  other  consequential
reliefs.  Writ Petition was disposed of on 19.04.2011 with  a  direction  to
AHPCL to approach the MoEF for a specific decision as to the  clearance  for
increased capacity of generation and increased height of the dam.  The  MoEF
was directed to take a decision within a period  of  three  months.   Court,
however, noticed that the clearance had already been given by  the  MoEF  in
the year 1985 which stood transferred in favour of  AHPCL  for  construction
of the dam for generation of 200 MW of electricity and 63  metre  height  of
the dam.  The Court also ordered that the construction of dam for  the  said
height and for generation capacity of 200 MW would not be  stopped  but  the
construction beyond that limit could be proceeded only  after  clearance  is
sought from the MoEF.


9.    MoEF as directed by  the  High  Court  considered  the  entire  matter
afresh and rendered a  specific  decision  dated  03.08.2011clarifying  that
transfer letter dated 27.03.2006 in favour of AHPCL was  for  330  MW.   The
operative portion reads as follows:-
       “The matter has been reviewed by the Ministry and it  is  to  clarify
       that while transferring the environment clearance dated 3rd May, 1985
       of the Project in the name of Uttar Pradesh State  Electricity  Board
       (UPSEB) to M/s. Duncans North Hydro Power Company Limited  vide  this
       Ministry’s  letter  No.   12011/6/96-IA-I   dated   27.7.1999   (copy
       enclosed), the Ministry had reviewed that increased capacity from 200
       MW (4X50 MW) to 330 MW  (5X66  MW)  and  associated  parameters  like
       change in dam height from 73m to 90m from the deepest foundation  and
       FRL from EL 604.0m to 605.5m.  The Ministry also noted that there was
       a change in the submergence from 300 ha to 324.074 ha, however Forest
       land remained the same i.e. 338.36 ha dated 15th  April,  1987  which
       will be the final Forest Land for the Project.  Therefore, the  final
       parameters for the project are as follows:-


         i) Submergence area – 324.074 ha
        ii) Forest land for diversion – 338.86 ha
       iii) Capacity – 330 MW (4X82.5 MW)
        iv) Dam height from the deepest foundation – 90 m
         v) Dam height for the river bed level – 66 m
        vi) FRL – EL 605.5 m
       vii) MDDL – EL 603.0 m
      viii) Dam top Road level – 611.0 m


       In view of the above, I am directed to clarify that the  transfer  of
       environment clearance from DHPCL to  Alaknanda  Hydro  Power  Company
       Limited (AHPCL) vide this  Ministry’s  letter  No.  J-12011/6/96-IA_I
       dated 27th March, 2006 is of 330 MW capacity with the above mentioned
       parameters.  The Ministry has further noted the change in  the  units
       from 6X55 MW to 4X82.5MW, as approved by CEA.

       This has approval of the Competent Authority.”

10.   MoEF though clarified the position as directed by the High Court,  the
first respondent herein along with one  Dr.  Bharat  Jhunjhunwala  preferred
Writ Petition (PIL) No. 68 of 2011 before the High Court of  Uttarakhand  at
Nainital on 09.08.2011 challenging the order dated 03.08.2011.


11.   Writ Petition was disposed of by the High  Court  directing  AHPCL  to
place the documents mentioned in  Schedule  IV  to  the  Notification  dated
27.01.1994 before MoEF and the Ministry was directed to take steps  to  hold
a public hearing as envisaged in the Notification.   Further,  it  was  also
ordered that the notice should mention that  the  public  hearing  would  be
given at Dhari  Devi  Temple  premises  and  that  the  Commissioner,  Pauri
Garhwal to be present at the public hearing.  Further,  Court  also  noticed
that the construction work had progressed  to  a  great  extent  and  at  no
stage, there was any objection to the construction of the project  having  a
capacity of 200 MW and, therefore, did not stop the  construction,  however,
it was made clear that the same would be subject to the  decision  taken  by
the MoEF.

12.   AHPCL, aggrieved by the above mentioned judgment, has  preferred  this
appeal by raising the core issue with regard to  the  applicability  of  EIA
Notification dated 27.01.1994 in a case where the project had  been  granted
environmental clearance for 200 MW on 3.05.1985 and thereafter  for  330  MW
by the MoEF on 15.4.1987 and approved by CEA on 18.12.1987, followed by  the
sanction accorded by the Planning Commission on 29.1.1988.


13.   Respondents 1 and 2 in Civil Appeal arising out  of  SLP  (Civil)  No.
362 of 2012 also filed SLP (Civil) Nos. 5849-5850 of  2012  challenging  the
order of the High Court  dated  3.11.2011  and  the  order  dated  5.12.2011
passed on the review petition contending that the finding  recorded  by  the
High Court that they had not questioned the environmental clearance for  200
MW, was incorrect.  They also wanted the stoppage of the  project  till  the
procedure laid in the EIA Notification 2006 is complied with  including  the
holding of a public hearing.

14.   Mr. M.L. Lahoty, learned counsel appearing for the appellant  –  AHPCL
submitted  that  EIA  Notification  dated  27.01.1994  (as  submitted   upto
07.07.2004) would operate only prospectively and  that  too  only  to  those
projects which are either ‘new’  or  ‘expansion  or  modernisation’  of  the
existing project is proposed after 1994 Notification.  Learned counsel  made
reference to the judgment of this Court in Narmada Bachao Andolan  v.  Union
of India and Others (2000) 10 SCC 664 and submitted  that  the  Notification
would operate only prospectively.  Learned counsel pointed out  that  public
hearing was expressly excluded by para 4 of  the  Explanatory  Note  to  the
Notification in respect  of  projects  like  Srinagar  Hydro  Project  where
neither large displacement is  involved  nor  is  there  severe  environment
ramification.  Further, it was also pointed out that the  expansion  of  the
project from 200 MW to 330 MW was granted in the  year  1987  prior  to  the
notification and even the original EIA of 1994 would  not  apply.   Further,
it was also pointed out that Amendment  Act  77  of  2004  was  incorporated
simultaneously with the explanation along with two Entries Nos.  31  and  32
to bring within  its  purview  the  “new  construction  projects”  and  “new
industrial estates”.  Learned counsel  pointed  out  so  far  as  the  Hydro
Projects are  concerned,  they  are  not  covered  by  the  said  two  newly
introduced Entries as from the very inception of  1994  notification,  Hydro
Power Projects are covered by  Rule  2  of  Schedule  1  and  therefore  the
explanation so inserted also has no application.  Consequently, the  concept
of ‘plinth level’ is also not applicable as it goes with  the  applicability
of the Explanation.

15.   Learned counsel also pointed  out  that  the  environmental  clearance
even otherwise was issued in the light of  the  specific  decision  of  MoEF
dated 03.08.2011 clarifying that the transfer letter of 27.3.2006 in  favour
of AHPCL was for 330 MW.   Learned counsel  in  support  of  his  contention
made reference to the judgment of this Court in  Lafarge  Umiam  Mining  (P)
Ltd. v. Union of India, (2011) 7 SCC 338.  Learned counsel also pointed  out
that the project in question was  conceptualized  more  than  three  decades
back.  As on date the project stands almost completed and more than  Rs.4000
cores had been invested and therefore, there is no  question  of  holding  a
public hearing at this stage.  Further, it was also pointed out  that  State
Government  had  ascertained  views  of  the   local   inhabitants,   public
representatives,  Gram  Panchayat,  Shopkeepers,  Temple   Pujaris,   Trust,
devotees  etc.  and  it  was  considering  their  views,  the  MoEF  granted
environmental clearance and also forest clearance for the project.


16.   MoEF in the counter affidavit  filed  on  25.7.2012  stated  that  the
project in question was granted environment clearance in the year  1985  and
hence it would not come under the purview of EIA  Notification  of  1994  or
EIA Notification of 2006  which  replaced  the  EIA  Notification  of  1994.
Further, it was stated that the construction of project was  already  in  an
advance stage and hence public hearing would be an  empty  formality,  since
the purpose of public hearing is to  know   the  concerns  of  the  affected
people and to incorporate their concerns appropriately into the  Environment
Management Plan (EMP) for the project and it is after incorporation  of  the
concerns and revising/modifying the EMP, the final EMP  would  be  submitted
to the MoEF for granting environmental clearance to the project.  MoEF  has,
therefore, taken  the  stand  that  since  environmental  clearance  to  the
project had already been granted in the year 1985 prior to the  coming  into
force of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and the  EIA  Notification
of 1994, no public hearing was necessitated.


17.   Shri Lahoty also pointed out that so far as the issue  of  Dhari  Devi
temple is concerned, the Joint Committee had endorsed and  recommended  that
upliftment of the temple adhering to the INTACH plan is the best option  and
has  found  wide  acceptability  amongst  Temple   Samiti,   Pujari,   local
inhabitants as well as local  statutory  authorities.   Elaborate  arguments
were also addressed by the learned counsel on muck Management and  submitted
and that they had substantially complied with the proposed directions  under
Section  5  of  the  Environmental  Protection  Act.   Arguments  were  also
addressed on the Catchment Area Treatment Plan and submitted that an  amount
of Rs.22.30 crores was deposited with the  Forest  Department  way  back  in
2007-09.  Further, it was also pointed out that the AHPCL  had  spent  about
40 crores for rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected people in  the
catchment area.  For Greenbelt Development,  it  was  pointed  out  that  an
amount of Rs.2.30 crore was made available to the State  of  Uttarakhand  by
AHPCL.  Learned counsel,  therefore,  submitted  that  the  respondents  are
unnecessarily  creating  hurdle  in  the  completion  of  the  project   and
litigation is not in public interest but for advancing the private  interest
of the respondents.


18.   We may indicate while going through the averments  made  in  the  writ
petition as well as the impugned judgment and the pleadings of the  parties,
it is seen that the question that  was  primarily  raised  before  the  High
Court was with regard to the necessity of a public hearing and also  whether
the sanction had been accorded to construct the project  with  the  capacity
of 330 MW.  This Court in Narmada Bachao Andolan case (supra) has held  that
the 1994 Notification applies only prospectively, in  any  view  so  far  as
this case is concerned the environmental clearance cannot  be  an  issue  in
view of the specific stand taken by MoEF and  the  orders  dated  03.08.2011
passed by MoEF which can also be considered as an ex  post  facto  approval.
SHEP, it may be  noted,  is  an  ongoing  project  for  which  environmental
clearance was granted as early as in the year 1985 and forest  clearance  in
the year 1987.  Further, about 95 % of the work is already over  and  nearly
Rs.4,000 crores has been spent.  If public hearing is found  necessary  then
the same should have held  before  granting  environmental  clearance.   The
purpose of public hearing, it may be noted, is to know the concerns  of  the
affected people and to incorporate their  concerns  appropriately  into  the
EMP and it is after incorporation of  the  concerns  and  revision/modifying
plan,  the  final  EMP  would  be  submitted  to  the  MoEF   for   granting
environmental clearance.  Environmental clearance, in the instant case,  had
been granted in the year 1985 and the project is an  ongoing  project  which
is now nearing completion and, therefore, no purpose would  be  achieved  by
way of a public hearing at this stage.  We  also  notice  from  the  various
Committees’ reports and the report dated 3.5.2013  that  they  had  met  the
temple trustees, priests and residents of the locality, they had not  raised
any objection for not holding a  public  hearing.   Further,  the  State  of
Uttarakhand has also never canvassed for a public hearing nor any  complaint
was received by  the  temple  authorities  or  the  worshippers  raised  any
complaint of not holding any public hearing  there.     We,  therefore,  set
aside the direction given by the High Court directing the  MoEF  to  hold  a
public hearing.

19.   We find that a new dimension has been  added  to  this  litigation  by
initiating certain proceedings by group of  litigants  before  the  National
Green Tribunal, New Delhi.  MoEF also, on 30.06.2011, in exercise of  powers
conferred under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act,  1986  passed
a stop work order directing AHPCL to  attend  certain  environmental  issues
which included (i) mounting Dhari Devi temple at a higher elevation  as  per
the Plan prepared by INTACH (ii) maintain and manage  muck  at  the  various
muck disposal sites by providing  retention  wall,  slopes,  compacting  and
terracing etc. (iii) develop greenbelt (iv)  Catchment  Area  Treatment  (v)
undertaking Supana Query restoration  (vi)  maintain  minimum  environmental
flow etc.

20.   The second respondent and few others then approached NGT  vide  Appeal
No. 9 of 2011 praying for some rigours orders  against  AHPCL.   The  appeal
was, however, disposed of by NGT directing MoEF to  take  a  final  decision
within a period of eight weeks.  No decision was taken by  the  MoEF  within
the time granted by the NGT which led AHPCL filing M.A. No. 103/2012  before
the NGT to revoke Section 5 directions  and  allow  AHPCL  to  continue  the
construction work of the project.

21.    The  Tribunal  (NGT)  disposed  of  the  application  on   07.08.2012
expressing its anguish for not disposing  of  the  matter  within  the  time
granted by it.  The AHPCL submitted that in spite of the fact  that  it  had
complied  with  all  the  requirements  stipulated  in  the   notice   dated
30.06.2011, unnecessarily the project was held  up  causing  huge  financial
loss to it.  AHPCL also sought a direction to transfer all  the  cases  from
NGT to this court to be heard along  with  the  appeal.   Consequently,  all
those related matters were transferred to this case  Court  and  were  heard
along with these appeals.

22.   We asked the Secretary, MoEF, when the matter came for hearing, as  to
whether the conditions stipulated in its order  dated  30.06.2011  had  been
complied with by the project proponent.  Committee headed by  Dr.  B.P.  Das
was constituted by  MoEF  to  examine  whether  the  project  proponent  had
complied with the  conditions  stipulated  in  the  environmental  clearance
granted in May 1985 as well as Order dated 30.06.2011 and the  copy  of  the
Das Committee report of August 2012 has been made available.

23.   Reference was also made  to  the  B.K.  Chaturvedi  Committee  Interim
Report, as well as the final report, with regard to the  environmental  flow
of Alakhnanda, Bhaghirthi and other tributaries  of  Ganga  which  has  also
made some reference to this project as well.  After noticing  Das  Committee
Report and after hearing learned counsel on either side, this Court  thought
it appropriate to constitute a joint team consisting of  officials  of  MoEF
as well as State Government so as to conduct an on the  spot  inspection  of
the project area in question and to examine whether  the  project  proponent
had complied  with  all  the  conditions  stipulated  in  the  environmental
clearance of May 1985 as well as Order dated 30.06.2011 of the  MoEF,  which
also referred to the issue of the protection of Dhari  Devi  Temple.     The
joint team was  directed  to  give  an  opportunity  of  hearing  to  second
respondent as well.  We have taken such a  course  to  give  a  quietus  and
finality to the various issues which are long standing.


24.   The Joint Team  consisted  of  Professor  R.  Ramesh  National  Centre
Coastal Zone Institute, Chennai, Mr. Gambhir  Singh,  Chief  Conservator  of
Forests, Garwhal, Prof. R.  Sakthivakivel,  International  Water  Management
Institute, Mr. Lalit Kapur, Director, MoEF and Dr. Arun  Kumar,  CSO,  AHEC,
IIT Roorkee as a  Chairman  of  the  Committee.   This  5-members  Committee
visited the project site including MUCK disposal sites on May  1st  and  2nd
2013 and heard the second respondent as well as the  AHPCL.   The  Committee
also visited Dhari Devi temple  site  and  met  trustees,  priests  and  few
residents of village Dhari.  The Committee also visited the catchment  area.
 The Committee examined as to  whether  the  AHPCL  had  complied  with  the
conditions stipulated in the environmental clearance of May  1985  and  also
the  conditions  stipulated  in  forest  clearance  of  April,  1987.    The
Committee also examined whether the AHPCL had complied with  the  conditions
communicated under Section 5  of  Environment  (Protection)  Act  1986  vide
letter dated 30.06.2011, also issues with regard to Dhari Devi Temple.   The
Committees, after considering all those aspects,  submitted  its  report  on
03.05.2013.  The operative portion of the same reads as follows:

       “2.  Compliance of Conditions stipulated In  Environmental  Clearance
       of May, 1985.


       1.   Fuel Wood should be provided to the construction stage so as  to
       prevent indiscriminate falling of trees  in  the  neigbouring  areas.
       The budgeted estimate should therefore, be suitably augmented.


       The AHPCL has informed that they have made arrangements through their
       contractor to supply cooking gas for all the workers of the  project.
       Nearly three to four hundred cylinders are used by the workers of all
       contractors for cooking requirements.  In case of non-availability of
       gas, kerosene is used on limited occasions.  No fuel wood is used for
       cooking or any other purpose.   In  case  of  any  exigency  wood  is
       purchased  from  authorized  Government/Forest  departments  by   the
       contractor.


       2.Critically eroded areas in the catchment should be  identified  for
       undertaking time bound soil conservation program in the first  phase,
       concurrently  with  the  construction  works.   The  catchment   area
       treatment plans be worked out expeditiously.


       Uttarakhand Forest Department has provided a status on the  CAT  plan
       and green belt matter and is placed at Annexure – 2.


       Uttarakhand Forest Department is executing the CAT plan  through  its
       four Divisions viz. Narendranagar, Rudraprayag, Garhwal and  Civil  -
       Soyam Pauri Forest Division.  The proposed outlay  of  CAT  plan  for
       five year period was Rs.22.03 crores deposited by the AHPCL in  three
       instalments (last in April 2009) to the Nodal  Officer  who  in  turn
       transferred this amount to the CAMPA fund with Govt.  of  India.   In
       2010, the funds were transferred to the CAMPA society of  Uttarakhand
       Govt. for execution of proposed works.


       To bring uniformity and for providing directions for finalization  of
       CAT plans in participatory mode, PCCF  Uttarakhand  vide  letter  No.
       238/PA and Kha-2023/13-2(2) dated 25 March 2011 issued guidelines for
       implementation of CAT plans in participatory mode.  Overall framework
       for reviewing CAT plans was approved  by  steering  committee  of  UK
       CAMPA in its 3rd meeting on 16th May 2011.  Further,  the  PCCF  vide
       office Memo  NO.  174/13-2(2)  dated  03.08.2011  issued  preliminary
       guidelines with respect to creation  of  a  Project  Management  Unit
       (PMU) for implementation of the CAT Plan.  The funds for CAT plan are
       being allocated as per original proposal.  However,  micro-plans  are
       being prepared in participatory mode by the respective  Divisions  of
       the Forest department following the Procurement Rules, 2008.


       In pursuance to the above mentioned facts preparatory phase  for  the
       CAT plan execution was started in 2011-12 during which identification
       of sites, consultations  with  village  communities,  preparation  of
       micro-plans by PRA method and awareness campaigns were  carried  out.
       In 2012-13, nursery raising, advance  soil  works  were  carried  out
       together with preparatory activities.  Total 133 villages  have  been
       identified for the CAT plan and Division wise distribution  of  which
       is Narendranagar Forest Division – 40  villages,  Rudraprayag  Forest
       Division – 41 villages, Garhwal Forest Division  –  21  villages  and
       Civil-Soyam Pauri Forest Division – 31  villages.   Out  of  the  133
       villages micro-plans have been prepared for 76 villages and  division
       wise status of  preparation  of  micro-plans  in  Rudraprayag  Forest
       Division – 34 villages, Garhwal Forest Division  –  21  villages  and
       Civil  Soyam  Pauri  Forest  Division  –  31  villages.   During  the
       financial year 2012-13, implementation of micro plans was started  in
       10 villages  and  during  current  financial  year  approximately  60
       villages are being taken up for this purpose.


       Nursery activities have been selected at Division level.  The  actual
       requirement of the plants is expected to be known  on  completion  of
       all micro-plans.  Based  on  estimates  saplings  are  already  being
       raised in nurseries as  Narendranagar  Forest  Division  –  1.5  lacs
       saplings, Rudraprayag Forest Division – 5.4 saplings, Garhwal  Forest
       Division – 1.0 saplings and Civil-Soyam Pauri Forest Division  –  1.3
       saplings.  Through these nurseries afforestation is  being  taken  up
       through micro planning of the planned villages in the catchment.


       A total sum of Rs.46.22 lacs has been spent so far by the  department
       during the financial years  2011-12  and  2012-13  under  the  budget
       provided by the project.


       Further from other sources of funding i.e.  13th  Finance  Commission
       and FDA etc. the forest department of Uttarakhand has treated 882  Ha
       area as well as constructed 81 check dams and 10 water ponds  in  the
       catchment of the project.


       3.   Afforestation should be undertaken  on  a  large  scale  in  the
       project area and a 50m wide green belt created around  the  periphery
       of the reservoir.


       For afforestation the response has been same as above in 2.


       Compensatory afforestation as  the  Indian  Forest  Conservation  Act
       (1980) was completed in an area of 347 ha  in  district  Lalitpur  of
       Uttar Pradesh (the then combined State) after  the  forest  clearance
       accorded in the year 1987.


       Based on the estimates provided by Forest department in June 2012 for
       a sum of Rs.652.49 lacs to be implemented in  six  years,  AHPCL  has
       deposited first year budget of Rs.203.6 lacs with  the  state  forest
       department for creating Green Belt around the rim of the reservoir of
       Srinagar HEP in August 2012.


       The state forest department  is  expecting  the  Srinagar  hydropower
       project to be commissioned  in  Dec.  2013/Jan.2014  and  only  after
       filling the reservoir, they intend to assess the requirement of  site
       above the submerged area, the selection of species, the type of  soil
       works etc. and creating the Green Belt accordingly.   Therefore  they
       intend to start the green belt activities only after works  of  water
       reservoir are completed and is filled.  The work in the private  land
       shall be taken up for green belt  development  through  participatory
       approach with the land owners.


       4.   Geo-morphological studies be  undertaken  in  the  catchment  to
       formulate plans for the stability of slopes  on  reservoir  periphery
       through engineering and biological measures.


       Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been appointed as the agency for
       carrying out the Geo-morphological Studies.  Total  9  villages  have
       been identified.  These are Dungripanth, Sendri,  Dhari,  Kaliyasour,
       Gandasu, Farasu, Mehargon, Paparasuand and Maliyasu.  The studies for
       7 villages are completed.  Recommendations received  for  5  villages
       namely  Dungripanth,   Sendri,   Dhari,   Kaliyasour,   Gandasu   and
       implemented by the AHPCL.  As informed by AHPCL, the  recommendations
       for the displacement of the houses in the rim area of  the  reservoir
       have been complied with.  The balance  reports  are  expected  to  be
       received from GSI soon.


       Measures comprises of engineering and  biological  aspects  in  green
       belt area are being implemented by state forest department.


       5.   A monitoring committee should be  constituted,  in  consultation
       with  the  Department  of  Environmental  to  oversee  the  effective
       implementation of the suggested safeguards.


       The AHPCL has been submitting the half yearly compliance  reports  to
       the Regional Office of  MoEF,  Lucknow.   The  Regional  Office  also
       visited the project site from time to time.  The committees of Dr. BP
       Das in June 2011, Dr. J.K. Sharma in June 2012, Dr.  BP  Das  in  Aug
       2012 appointed by MoEF and Shri ADN Rao in Dec.2012 appointed by  NGT
       have visited the project site and submitted the reports.


       The committee is of the opinion that AHPCL should monitor the project
       during construction and post construction for various  parameters  of
       water quality, aquatic biodiversity,  landslides  in  the  rim  area,
       inflow and outflow, impacts on water tables and  springs  and  submit
       the reports to the State Government and MoEF regularly.


       There should a monitoring mechanism at the state level  which  should
       have the data for practicing adaptive management and such  monitoring
       may be carried out in association with project affective society.


       3.   Compliance of conditions stipulated in Forest Clearance (FC)  of
       April, 1987.


       1.   Legal status of land will remain unchanged.


       No change has been reported.


       2.   Compensatory afforestation will be raised  over  and  equivalent
       non forest land.


       Compensatory afforestation as per the Indian Forest Conservation  Act
       (1980) was completed in an area of 347 ha  in  district  Lalitpur  of
       Uttar Pradesh (the then combined State) after  the  forest  clearance
       accorded in the year 1987.


       3.   The oustees will be rehabilitated as per plan submitted  in  the
       state government.


       Since there  were  no  human  oustees  in  the  submergence  area  no
       rehabilitation plan was prepared by the State  government.   However,
       Geological Survey of India (GSI) was appointed by AHPCL for  carrying
       out the  Geo-morphological  Studies  for  9  villages  identified  as
       Dungripanth, Sendri, Dhari, Kaliyasour,  Gandasu,  Farasu,  Mehargon,
       Paparasu and Maliyasu.  As informed by AHPCL, the recommendations for
       the displacement of the houses in the rim area of the reservoir  have
       been complied with for the recommendation received from GSI  so  far.
       The balance reports are expected to be received from GSI soon.


       Dhari Devi temple coming under the submergence area has been reported
       separately.


       4.   The project authority will establish fuel wood  depots  and  the
       fuel wood be provided to construction labor and staff free  of  cost,
       or its cost deducted from the salaries and wages to be  paid  to  the
       staff and labor.


       The AHPCL has informed that they  have  made  arrangements  with  the
       local gas supplier to supply cooking gas for all the workers  of  the
       project.  Nearly three to four hundred  cylinders  are  used  by  the
       workers of all contractors for cooking requirements.  In case of non-
       availability of gas, kerosene is used on limited occasions.  No  fuel
       wood is used for cooking or  any  other  purpose.   In  case  of  any
       exigency  wood  is  purchased   from   authorized   Government/Forest
       departments by the contractor.


       4.   Compliance of conditions communicated  under  Section  5  of  EP
       (Act) 1986 vide letter dated 30.06.2011.


       1.   To preserve the religious sanctity and character  of  the  Dhari
       Devi Temple, a modified plan will be prepared in  collaboration  with
       INTACH, a Conservation Architect, the local  Temple  Samity  and  the
       representative of GSI.  The Plan should, inter alia, examine how part
       of rock on which the platform of  the  deity  has  been  constructed,
       along with the rock that formed its backdrop, shall be mounted  at  a
       higher elevation in such a way that it  maintains  contact  with  the
       base rock from which it is raised.


       2.   Only after modified Plan as specified above has  been  prepared,
       the construction shall be resumed at Dhari Devi Temple.


       As  reported  by  AHPCL  a  modified  Temple  Plan  was  prepared  in
       collaboration with INTACH, Temple Samithi and  Geological  Survey  of
       India and submitted to MoEF on 12.09.2011 and  further  intimated  to
       MoEF on 09.02.2012 for continuation of works  as  per  provisions  of
       para 14(ii) of Section 5 notice.


       Earlier committees which visited sites during 16-17th June, 2012  and
       29-30th August, 2012 and B.K. Chaturvedi Committee report April 2013,
       have all recommended construction  of  temple  works  as  per  INTACH
       scheme.  The committee visited the temple site and found the work  of
       raising the platform  was  in  advance  stage  of  construction  with
       certain changes made by temple priest and trustees.


       3.   The muck slope at the edge of  the  river  shall  be  adequately
       protected by a retaining wall of at least 1-2 m height to be 1m above
       HFL corresponding to a flood of 2500 to 3000m3/sec in the river.


       4.   The existing slope of the muck disposed off is around 40-45o and
       shall be flattened to 35o.  The walls shall be constructed  partially
       upto a maximum of 2m height and need to be completed to the top  with
       surface  protection  before  July  2011  when  monsoon  precipitation
       becomes intense.  This is considered expedient to prevent  sloughing,
       sliding of the critically steep much slope and to arrest flow of  the
       muck into the river.  The wall shall be constructive over a length of
       almost 1 km stretch at three major  sites  i.e.  the  dam,  desilting
       basin and power house.  This would  lead  to  adequate  environmental
       protection.


       5.   Muck shall be compacted and Terraces shall be  formed  where  so
       ever possible.


       As per plan approved by the State forest department there are 10 muck
       disposal sites in the project area out of which only sites 8 & 9  are
       permanent and  others  are  temporary  meant  only  for  construction
       duration.  A total volume of  66.1  lacs  cubic  meter  of  muck  was
       estimated, out of which 16.79 lacs  cubic  meter  of  muck  has  been
       utilized for back filling purpose.  Further 12.5 lacs cubic meter  is
       contemplated to be utilized from muck site  6,  7  and  10  for  back
       filling.  37.62 lacs cubic meter is planned to be left over at site 3
       (2.01 lacs cubic meter), 4(4.22 lacs cubic meter), 6(4.96 lacs  cubic
       meter), 7(2.39 lacs cubic meter), 8(8.8 lacs  cubic  meter),  9(12.48
       lacs cubic meter) and 10(2.77 lacs cubic meter) for land shaping  and
       grading.  Total muck utilization as on date as informed by  AHPCL  is
       estimated to be about 44%.


       A review of water  quality  parameters  (Temperature,  pH,  Dissolved
       Oxygen, Biological Oxygen Demand) provided  by  the  State  Pollution
       Control Board, Uttarakhand for the year 2011-12 and 2012-13  measured
       in Alaknanda at Rudraprayag i.e. upstream of Srinagar project and  in
       Alaknanda at Deoprayag i.e. downstream of Srinagar project  indicates
       that there is negligible difference in the water  quality  parameters
       due to project construction activity.


       Slope dressing  and  toe  walls  are  constructed/being  repaired  at
       temporary sites.  Some construction material is stored on  site  No.6
       and the same is planned to be  removed  after  completion  of  words.
       Soil from site No.4 is planned to be removed before monsoon, 2013  as
       the batching plant has been removed now.   Soil  from  site  no.7  is
       being removed now.  Slope dressing, Terracing,  Toe  walls  would  be
       completed in location nos. 8 and 9 where much disposal is going to be
       permanent.


       Angles of muck disposal sites 4,6,7,8 & 9 were got measured by  AHPCL
       and are reported as follows: 4 – 21o/25o, 18o/33o, site 6 –  28o/29o,
       32o/32o, site 7 – 33o/29o, 37o/36o/27o, site 8 – 31o,32o,  site  9  –
       35o/36o/35o/37o, 35o/32o.


       Slopes of muck disposal areas (angle of repose) are given as  45o  at
       para 18(3) page no.16 of Report on “Muck Disposable and Management of
       Srinagar project” by  IIT,  Roorkee,  November  2008.   However  MoEF
       letter has suggested flattening the slopes up  to  35o.   The  slopes
       measured and reported by AHPCL appear to be in order.


       Earthen cofferdam in front of power house is planned  to  be  removed
       after completion of power house for joining the water from powerhouse
       to river through tail water channel and soil to be utilized for  back
       filling and landscaping.  This cofferdam was synonymously referred to
       as Muck disposal site no. 10 at Power house location in the section 5
       notice dt. 30.06.2011.  Disposal Location no. 10 is well  behind  the
       power house coffer dam and has no contact with river water.


       All the toe walls which got damaged at the muck disposal sites during
       monsoon, should be repaired by AHPCL especially for those sites where
       muck is being stored permanently.


       The photographs of all muck disposal sites of  different  time  along
       with approved muck disposal plan by AHPCL is placed at Annexure – 3.


       6.   Appropriate protection by plantation and gabions should  be  put
       only after slopes are flattened to 35o, protected by retaining  walls
       of desired height.  Thereafter, appropriate soil cover of 1m shall be
       provided to raise plantation for slope protection.


       7.   Muck disposal site wise restoration plan with the targets  shall
       be submitted immediately to the MoEF.


       In  view  of  the  ongoing  removal  of  the  muck  from  sites   and
       construction activity the plantation  is  expected  to  be  taken  up
       thereafter.


       8.   Green Belt development to  be  undertaken  simultaneously  along
       with project construction.


       Based on the estimates provided by Forest department in June 2012 for
       a sum of Rs.652.49 lacs for implementation in six  years,  AHPCL  has
       deposited first year budget of Rs. 203.6 lacs with the  state  forest
       department for creating Green Belt around the rim of the reservoir of
       Srinagar HEP in August 2012.


       The state forest department  is  expecting  the  Srinagar  hydropower
       project to be commissioned  in  Dec  2013/Jan  2014  and  only  after
       filling the reservoir, the forest department  intend  to  assess  the
       requirement of sites above  the  submerged  area,  the  selection  of
       species, the type of soil words etc.  and  creating  the  Green  belt
       accordingly.   Therefore  they  intend  to  start  the   green   belt
       activities only after works of water reservoir are completed  and  is
       filled.  The private land shall also  be  taken  up  for  green  belt
       development through participatory approach with the land owners.


       9.   For expediting Geo-morphological studies by Geological Survey of
       India (GSI) and implementation of  recommendations  before  Dam  gets
       operational.  AHPCL shall pursue with GSI and take up the  mitigation
       measures immediately.


       Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been appointed as the agency for
       carrying out the Geo-morphological Studies.  Total  9  villages  have
       been identified.  These are Dungripanth, Sendri,  Dhari,  Kaliyasour,
       Gandasu, Farasu, Mehargon, Paparasu and Maliyasu.  The studies for  7
       villages are completed.   Recommendations  received  for  5  villages
       namely Dungripanth, Sendri, Dhari Kaliyasour, Gandasu and implemented
       by the AHPCL.  As informed by  AHPCL,  the  recommendations  for  the
       relocation of the houses in the rim area of the reservoir  have  been
       complied with.  The balance reports are expected to be received  from
       GSI soon.


       Village: Dungripanth


       Recommendation of GSI with status
       House of Sri Hari Sankar Singh is to be relocated – Complied.
       The area falling between +605.90  and  611.00  both  Dungripanth  and
       Dikholi villages may be monitored from safety view point  immediately
       after impounding of reservoir – Shall be monitored accordingly
       House of C.S. Bahuguna needs to  be  relocated  to  a  safe  place  –
       Complied.


       Village : Sendri


       Recommendation of GSI with status
       4 houses located close to the outer edge of  the  ridge  need  to  be
       relocated to a safer place – Complied


       Village – Dhari


       Houses and land upto EL +616.00 sshall have to be  displaced/acquired
       – Complied


       Village: Kaliyasour


       There would not be major threat from the reservoir to  the  stability
       of slopes where main settlement is located – No action is to be taken


       Village Gandasu


       Suitable remedial measures for slopes at specific locations are being
       recommended –
       Action may be initiated after receipt of recommendations


       Village: Farasu


       Studies conducted, report yet to be submitted.




       Village Mehargon


       Studies conducted, report yet to be submitted.


       10.  The Restoration work  for  Supana  Quarry  shall  be  undertaken
       simultaneously, leaving the part which is being used for  storage  of
       building material.


       Committee observed from the site visit that storage of  the  building
       material has been almost removed and vacated  site  is  being  filled
       with muck.


       11.  AHPCL shall maintain a minimum environmental  flow  as  will  be
       decided by the Ministry on the basis of Study of IIT Roorkee  on  the
       Cumulative Impact Assessment on Alaknanda and Bhaghirathi Basin.


       As per the approved Environmental Management  Plan  of  the  project,
       AHPCL is required to release a minimum of 5 cumecs of water from  the
       Dam through out the year in the river section of water.


       Ministry of Environment and Forest constituted  an  Inter-Ministerial
       Group (IMG) headed by Shri B.K.  Chaturvedi  to  consider  the  issue
       related to hydropower projects and environmental flows in June  2012.
       The  committee  has  submitted  its  report  in  April   2013   after
       considering the report from IIT Roorkee, Wildlife Institute of  India
       and others as available.


       The MoEF is expected to take a decision on this  and  convey  to  the
       project proponent at appropriate time for compliance.


       12.  Requisite clearances shall be  sought  by  AHPCL  for  Alaknanda
       River Front Development Scheme  before  proceeding  further  on  this
       scheme.


       13.  AHPCL shall submit a detailed Action Plan on the above mentioned
       directions with time targets along with  a  Bank  Guarantee  of  Rs.1
       crore in favour of the State Pollution  Control  Board,  Uttarakhand.
       The Bank Guarantee shall be forfeited in case of  non  compliance  by
       AHPCL.


       AHPCL informed that the proposed scheme is not  a  part  of  approved
       EMP/EC of the project.  This was an additional proposal  from  AHPCL.
       However, neither proposal nor word has been taken up so far.


       A Bank Guarantee of Rs.1 core was submitted  through  Uttarakhand  on
       July, 2011.


       5.   TOR II: The Committee will  also  submit  a  full  and  complete
       picture of the project at present.


       AHPCL has provided the statement of physical and  financial  progress
       of various work of the Srinagar project as on March 31, 2013  and  is
       given at Annexure 4.  The summary of the same is as below:


       Civil Works: diversion tunnel, coffer dams, dam  and  spillway,  head
       race tunnel,  forebay  tank  and  byepass  channel,  bridges  on  the
       channel,  penstock,  power  house  building,  switchyard   are   100%
       completed.  The cross drainage works of  Munjh  Kot  nallah  are  93%
       completed.


       Hydro mechanical works: dam and spillway, head race  tunnel,  forebay
       and byepass and draft tube are 100% completed.


       Electro-mechanical works: 3 units are 100% completed whereas  unit  4
       is under progress.


       6.TORIII:  In the context of Dhari Devi Temple, which is coming under
       submergence  of  the  reservoir,  the  Committee  will  suggest  best
       possible option regarding  how  to  protect  the  Dhari  Devi  Temple
       without disturbance at its present location.


       In the recent time there have been several committees who  have  gone
       through the issue of the submergence  of  Dhari  Devi  temple  and  a
       numbers of alternative to prevent the submergence of the  Dhari  Devi
       Temple were studied.  These are as follows:


    a) Architectural Heritage Division of Indian National Trust for Art  and
       Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has prepared a plan in  consultation  with
       Dhari Devi Temple Trust, Geological survey of India and AHPCL in Sept
       2011.


    b) Dr. B.P. Das Committee Aug 2012 recommended  that  “In  view  of  the
       compelling  Technical,  Social,  Religious  and  Sentimental  Reasons
       narrated in para 4.2, the feasibility  of  constructing  a  dry  well
       structure to protect the rock mound in situ and “Maa Dhari Devi Idol”
       in its  existing  position  is  not  feasible.   The  team  therefore
       recommends for continuation of works of restoration of the temple  as
       per INTACH proposal”.



    c) B.K. Chaturvedi Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) appointed sequel to the
       third meeting of National Ganga  River  Basin  Authority  (NGRBA)  in
       April 2012 submitted its report  in  Sept  2012  where  the  IMG  has
       recommended that best solution for saving the temple  appears  to  be
       accepting the recommendation of two member  committee  comprising  of
       Chairman Central Water Commission and  Chairman  Central  Electricity
       Authority  represented  by  its  Member  (Hydro).   The  two   member
       committee examined the following option:





         i) Construction of an enclosure bund around temple and  surrounding
            ghat and access road upto the level of 611m on the banks.
        ii) Construction of an concrete well of about 30 meter diameter  and
            18 meter height around the temple.
       iii) Relocation of the temple to a safe location on the left bank  of
            the river.
        iv) Raising the temple above the highest flood level at its  current
            location and to install the idol at higher elevation at the same
            spot with access to the temple through a pedestrian bridge  from
            the left bank.
         v) Construction of 30km long power channel and diversion dam in the
            upstream of existing dam.


       Keeping in view the limitations and infeasibility of implementing the
       first three options the committee recommended the fourth option  i.e.
       “Raising the temple above the highest  flood  level  at  its  current
       location and to install the idol at higher elevation at the same spot
       with access to the temple through a pedestrian bridge from  the  left
       bank.”


       This committee visited the Dhari Devi temple  on  May  02,  2012  and
       interacted with trustees, priests of the Dhari Devi  temple  and  few
       residents of village Dhari who were In favour of raising  the  temple
       above the highest water level.  In fact the committee  observed  that
       the elevated platform of temple is in advance stage  of  construction
       and the preparations are under way for shifting the  deities  to  the
       elevated  location.   The  trustee,  priests  and  resident  who  the
       committee interacted are of the opinion of early  completion  of  the
       temple at the elevated location.


       Dr. B. Jhunjhunwala expressed apprehensions against moving the  Dhari
       Devi temple to a higher elevation, as it is against  the  “Rights  of
       Worship”.  He proposed the option of Construction of 30 km long power
       channel and diversion dam in the upstream of existing dam.


       7.    TOR  IV:   The   committee   will   gather   evidence   through
       photography/videography


       The photographs taken during site visit are available at annexure – 5


       8.   TOR V:     The Committee will  give  personal  hearing  to  Shri
       Bharat Jhunjhunwala accompanied by his wife & representatives of  the
       project proponent i.e. AHPCL who will place their views  and  records
       if any, before the said Committee.


       The committee gave  personal  hearing  to  Shri  Bharat  Jhunjhunwala
       accompanied by his wife as well as project proponent  (AHEC)  on  May
       01, 2013 and heard patiently.   The  points  raised  by  Shri  Bharat
       Jhunjhunwala are addressed as below:


    a. Sale of power outside the area
       The project clearances were accorded in the year 1985 and 1987 during
       the period of undivided Uttar Pradesh.  The power purchase  agreement
       of the project is with Uttar Pradesh Govt. utility and free  power  @
       12% of power generated shall be available to  Uttarakhand  Government
       and is in line with the Uttar Pradesh state re-organization Act 2000.


    b. Conditions attached to Environmental Clearance 1985
       Not in the purview of the committee.  He may request to the MoEF  for
       the safe.


    c. CAT Plan
       The status on the CAT plan has been given above under the EC  and  FC
       clearance.


    d. Compensatory afforestation
       The status on the afforestation has been given  above  under  the  FC
       clearance.


    e. Green Belt
       The status on the green belt has been given above under the EC and FC
       clearance.


    f. Geo morphological studies
       The status on these studies and resettlement  of  the  likely  to  be
       affected persons has been given above.


    g. Dhari Devi Temple
       The response is given under TOR 3


    h. Muck Disposal
       The status of muck disposal sites  is  elaborated  above  along  with
       annexure 3 of photographs of all 10 locations.


    i. Stop work order
       As informed by AHPCL that in view of NGT order of M.A.  No.  103/2012
       in Appeal No. 9 of 2011 dated Aug 07, 2012 they  are  continuing  the
       construction of work.


       Committee also heard AHPCL through a power point  presentation.   The
       AHPCL requested the committee that their project may be allowed to be
       commissioned as earliest as possible.


       9.   RECOMMENDATIONS:


       The committee after verifying the conditions and progress of the work
       at site and hearing of Dr. B. Jhunjhunwala along with  his  wife  and
       project proponent AHPCL and interaction with others  in  the  project
       area recommends following:


    1. The muck disposal restoration may  be  done  at  the  earliest.   The
       necessary covering with top soil, plantation and  toe  wall  for  the
       permanent disposable site no. 8 & 9 be carried out at the earliest.


    2. The catchment area treatment plan and green belt plan being  executed
       by State Forest department be expedited.

    3. An effective monitoring mechanism at the  state  level  which  should
       have the data for practicing adaptive management be created and  such
       monitoring may be carried out in association with  project  affective
       society.

    4. As the project is in close proximity to  habitations  having  several
       national   and   state   institutions/organization,    the    ongoing
       construction activities may be completed at the earliest.”


25.   Report is now being questioned by the MoEF,  in  spite  of  the  fact,
that they constituted the joint team which included the  Director,  MoEF  as
its  representative.    MoEF,  in  their  written  submission,   raised   an
objection with regard to the proposal  to  shift  Dhari  Devi  temple  to  a
higher place which according to the MoEF would wound the  religious  feeling
of large sections of Hindus.  The MoEF  felt  that  the  project  proponents
plan to lift the temple up on column  and  preserve  it  under  guidance  of
INTACH which could not possibly be a viable solution in view of  the  recent
judgment of this Court in Orissa Mining Corporation v. MoEF  [(2013)  6  SCC
476] which says that the religious faith, customs and practices  of  tribals
have to be preserved and protected.  MoEF in its  affidavit  dated  6.5.2013
also took that position.  The Principal Secretary and State  of  Uttarakhand
filed their response on 10.05.2013 with respect to the  affidavit  filed  by
the MoEF on 06.05.2013 and the Report submitted by the Joint  Team.   Forest
Department of Uttarakhand also filed  their  note  indicating  their  stand.
Detailed written submission has also been filed by the second respondent  on
10.05.2013 with regard to the non-compliance of various directions given  by
the MoEF in its notice dated 30.06.2011 by AHPCL.

26.   Dr. B. Jhunjhunwala - party in person submitted that  the  High  Court
was right in directing a public hearing  following  the  1994  Notification,
the necessity of the same, according to him, has been  highlighted  by  this
Court in G. Sundarrajan v. Union of India and Others, the judgment of  which
is reported in (2013) 6 SCC 620.    Dr. Jhunjhunwala  has  also  highlighted
the necessity of keeping Dhari Devi  temple  on  the  spot  at  its  present
location.  Dr. Jhunjhunwala further submitted that Right to  Worship  stands
at  a  higher  pedestal  than  Right  to  Life  under  Article  21  and  any
disturbance of the temple would violate the Right to Worship at  Dhari  Devi
temple  without  any  hindrance  as  guaranteed  under  Article  25  of  the
Constitution of India.  Dr. Jhunjhunwala  also  suggested  that  the  temple
could be saved by making a  canal  instead  of  reservoir  at  the  impugned
project and  the  sacred  rock  in  situ  by  constructing  a  dry  well  of
sufficient height and diameter around it and providing pilgrim access to  it
by building an approach road.

27.   We have gone through the affidavits filed by the State of  Uttarakhand
and we find they have wholeheartedly accepted the B.P. Das Committee  Report
and the report dated 3.5.2013 submitted by the Joint Team and also the  B.K.
Chaturvedi  interim  report  dated  September   2012.    When   this   Court
constituted the Committee on 25.4.2013, this Court  directed  the  inclusion
of  the  State  Government  representative  as  well,  so  that  the   State
Government can express its views  on  various  issues  including  the  issue
relating to Dhari Devi temple.  State Government in their affidavit, it  may
be noted, have not questioned the suggestions made by the Committee  in  its
report dated 3.5.2013.   Consequently, we have to take  it  that  the  State
Government has no objection whatsoever with regard to  the  suggestion  made
by the joint Committee in its  report  dated  03.05.2013  i.e.  raising  the
temple above the highest flood level at its current location and to  install
the idol at higher elevation at the same spot  with  access  to  the  temple
through a pedestrian bridge from the left bank.  The Committee  specifically
stated in the report that they had visited Dhari Devi temple  site  and  met
trustees, priests of the temple and few residents of village  Dhari  and  no
objection was raised either by the trustees or priests of the temple on  the
suggestion made by the joint team in the report dated 03.05.2013.

INTACH Report:

28.   We also find  that  the  Architectural  Heritage  Division  of  Indian
National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has  prepared  a  plan
in consultation with Dhari Devi temple trust,  Geological  Survey  of  India
and AHPCL and which was submitted to the MoEF on 12.9.2011, which  has  been
accepted by all the subsequent Committees appointed.


Dr. B.P. Das Committee Report

29.   MoEF in compliance with the order passed by this Court in SLP 362  and
5849 of 2012 in Writ Petition No. 68 of 2008  dated  27.07.2012  constituted
B.P. Das Committee vide his Order dated 17.08.2012 to verify  whether  AHPCL
has complied with the conditions of the environmental clearance  granted  in
May  1985  and  directions  of  the  order  issued  under   Section   5   of
Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 dated 30.06.2011  and  to  examine  the
feasibility of well option of Dhari Devi Temple.



30.   We have already referred to in detail the  steps  taken  by  AHPCL  to
comply with the environmental clearance granted in 1985 and  the  conditions
stipulated in the MoEF Order dated 30.06.2011, which has also been noted  by
the Joint Team constituted on the basis of the  directions  of  this  Court.
B.P. Das Committee has elaborately examined the issue regarding  restoration
of Dhari Devi Temple in Paras 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2.1, 6.0  of  its  report  of
August 2012 and ultimately came to the conclusion that the proposal made  by
INTACH be accepted.  The paragraphs mentioned above are extracted  hereunder
for easy reference:
    “4.0   Restoration of Dhari Devi Temple

    The Team visited the temple premises and surroundings  on  29th  August
    2012.  Discussions were held with the officials of AHPCL, office bearer
    of Aadhyashakti Maa Dhari Pujari  Nyas,  Shri  V.P.  Pandey,  President
    along with Shri Vivek Pandey, Secretary and a Pujari namely Shri Manish
    Pandey.  A number of local people  and  people  representing  different
    organizations/groups  were  present  during   the   discussions.    The
    following emerged as a result of discussions and interactions.

    4.1     Upliftment  scheme  for   Dhari   Devi   temple   prepared   in
    collaboration with INTACH

     • In  accordance  with  the  directions  issued  by  MoEF  vide  dated
       30.06.2011; the project proponent had got  a  restoration  plan  for
       Dhari Devi Temple prepared by INTACH.  The construction, as per this
       plan, had already begun.  Fourteen pillars out of eighteen have been
       erected upto 10-15  meters  of  heights.   No  Temple  work  was  in
       progress on the day of site visit.

     • In addition to main Deity ie  Maa  Dhari  Devi,  the  Plan  contains
       provision for installation of other deities namely; Hanuman,  Shiva,
       Havan Room, Prayer  Hall,  Mother  rooms  (2nos),  office  room  and
       adequate space for passage and congregation of  devotees.   A  total
       plan area of 544 sq. Mtr. Has been envisaged in the  design  of  the
       temple at 611 meter Elevation and at 614 meter Elevation, as per the
       scheme formulated by INTACH.

     • The Group explained to the  Temple  Samity  about  the  concept  and
       design of Kudala Sangam Temple in Karnataka where a  well  structure
       has been built to house a Samadhi.  There  was  vehement  opposition
       from the Temple Samiti and the people  gathered  in  an  around  the
       temple to this concept.  All the  assembled  people  expressed  that
       confinement of deity in a well is totally unacceptable to them.  The
       Temple Samiti explained that Maa Dhari Devi is  presently  facing  a
       village called Dhari  Village  and  offering  its  blessing  to  the
       villagers and thus, protecting them from the perils  and  penury  of
       different sorts.  Under no circumstances the deity should be  hidden
       and kept in the well which will cause obstruction to Maa Dhari  Devi
       from viewing Dhari village.  It was explained by them that  the  top
       of the sanctum sanctorium shall have to be  kept  open  to  sky  and
       therefore, a well structure will pose many a problems.

     • It was learnt from the Temple Samiti that Maa Dhari Devi is not part
       of the base rock.  It is placed on a marble/tiled  platform  on  the
       rock.  The President of Temple Samiti also informed that about 20-22
       years back, the deity had once lifted from its earlier position.

     • The Temple Samiti expressed their  anguish  and  resentment  at  the
       prolonged delay in completing the temple in its new form as per  the
       INTACH design.  They, along with the local people also informed that
       they might execute the remaining work through Kar Seva if  an  early
       decision in their favour is not forthcoming.  They stated that  they
       were fed up in facing Committees after Committees on this issue.

     • The Temple Samiti as well as local people expressed the view that in
       case of Kudala Sangam in Karnataka State, a Samadhi has been  housed
       in the well.  They opined that there is no parity of  reasoning  and
       therefore, these two are not comparable.  Thus, the concept of  well
       structure of Kudala Sangam is not for a temple and the  same  cannot
       be considered appropriate for adoption in case of Dhari Devi Temple.
        They further informed that the temple rehabilitation plan  prepared
       by INTACH is in conformity with  temple  architecture  prevalent  in
       Northern Part of India.  They further informed that the temple  plan
       was approved by the State Govt. Of Uttarakhand during year 2009.

     • The people also raised security, safety  issues  and  difficulty  in
       movement of devotees as the congregation would be much more in  case
       of Maa Dhari Devi temple than Kudala Sangam.   The  entry  and  exit
       access for a well structure would be through spiral stairs along the
       stenning wall which are disadvantageous and accident prone.

    4.2    On the feasibility of “Protecting the sacred  rock  in  situ  by
    constructing a dry-well of sufficient height and diameter around it and
    providing pilgrims access to it by building an approach way and a stair
    case on the inner wall of the dry-well.”

    The team considered the following two alternative options:

       i) To protect the “Maa Dhari Devi idol” along with the  sacred  rock
          mound (Shila) by constructing a bigger diameter dry well.

      ii) To protect the rock  mound  (Shila)  by  constructing  a  smaller
          diameter dry-well in conjunction with the “Maa Dhari  Devi  Idol”
          upliftment scheme prepared in collaboration with the INTACH.

    For the reasons and constraints mentioned below the team is of the view
    that both the proposals are not feasible.

     • A plan area of 544 sq. Meter has been worked out and provisioned for
       the temple complex.  For a circular structure such as dry well, this
       will entail a Bigger diameter  (exceeding  50  meter)  in  order  to
       accommodate staircases,  space  for  deities  and  other  associated
       facilities.  This has been examined  by  Tata  Consulting  Engineers
       also, on behalf of the AHPCL.  In view of very large  diameter,  the
       dry well structure would encroach into the river where its width  is
       already  narrow.   The  construction  of  dry-well  structure   will
       therefore,  need  temporary  diversion  of  river  water   requiring
       structures like cofferdam etc.  Fresh EIA study  and  EC  for  river
       diversion arrangements may be  required  and  thereby  delaying  the
       temple  construction/rehabilitation  work  and  impounding  of   the
       reservoir.

     • The concept of a “Small Dry-well” of around 15m in diameter  is  not
       feasible as four columns (out of  eighteen)  enclosing  an  area  of
       10mX15m around the deity planned from structural consideration  that
       emerges out of INTACH restoration plan, will  be  fully  interfering
       with the 15m well.  This dry well from consideration  of  structural
       safety to resist uplift of 17m (anticipated  HFL  of  609.5  at  the
       temple due to backwater rise minus base level of 593 m) will need  a
       solid reinforced concrete (RC) raft of 20  to  22m  diameter,  which
       would mean shattering and removing the entire rock mound  below  the
       deity by the action of Drilling and Blasting.  Even an annular  raft
       will interfere with the central four columns and shatter the  sacred
       rock during blasting operations.  This will defeat the very  purpose
       of protecting it.

     • During field visit, neither the puja samiti / the  head  priest  nor
       the large number of devotees gathered there expressed  their  desire
       to go down to the lower level of the rock mound, once Maa Dhari Devi
       is installed at EL 614.00 and all other deities will be installed to
       complete the religious  paraphernalia.   The  Puja  Samity  and  the
       people at large expressed that they would feel hurt and anguished if
       the lower rock  is  encircled  by  a  large  well  barring  an  open
       exposure.

     • The size and nature of sub-structure and its foundation of the  well
       will depend on the geological strata  and  formation  of  river  bed
       which will govern the  actual  quantum  of  work  for  erecting  the
       structure.  Detailed sub-soil study will be necessary for this.

     • Safety arrangements covering a number of aspects have to be provided
       such as for emergency evacuation, fire hazards etc. in case  a  well
       option is though of.  It will also impede future  expansion  of  the
       temple premises which may be essential to cater for  the  increasing
       number of devotees visiting the temple.

     • As the top of the well would have to be kept open, the well will  be
       subjected to heavy rain and occasional cloud burst that may endanger
       the safety of deity and devotees.  In addition, poor ventilation and
       stampede like situation cannot be ruled out.  In the net,  the  well
       structure will hinder smooth “darshan” and movement of devotees.

     • Structurally, the well will be subjected  to  huge  uplift  pressure
       making the well unsafe and unstable.  This  will  also  entail  huge
       thickness  of  wall  and  heavy  founding  rafts  and  thus,  making
       construction complicated as drilling, blasting and grouting of rocks
       will be a necessity.

     • The devotees strongly object to any concept of  well  and  expressed
       that confinement of Deity Maa  Dhari  Devi  in  a  well  is  totally
       unacceptable to them.  The devotees  strongly  fell  that  under  no
       circumstances the Deity Maa Dhari Devi should be hidden and kept  in
       a well.  They desire that Maa Dhari Devi should continue to face the
       Dhari village and offer blessings to the villagers and thus  protect
       them from perils and penury of all sorts.

     • The well structure will go against the local aesthetic and  cultural
       heritage as prevalent in the region.

       In  view  of  the  compelling  Technical,  social,  religious,   and
    sentimental reasons, the scheme of constructing a  big/small  dry  well
    structure to protect “Dhari Devi Idol” and the surrounding sacred  rock
    mound in its existing position is not feasible.

    5.2.1  Dhari Devi Temple Rehabilitation Scheme (submission of  modified
    plan for construction commencement)

    There has been adequate compliance by the Project  Proponent  and  they
    have proceeded as per advice / directions given vide MoEF letter  dated
    30.06.2011.  The project  proponent  has  also  informed  the  MoEF  in
    February, 2012 about their program to resume the works as per  modified
    temple restoration plan that has been prepared  in  collaboration  with
    INTACH, a Conservation Architect, involving local Temple Samity  and  a
    representative of GSI.  The AHPCL informed the MoEF about resumption of
    works on the Temple restoration accordingly.

    6.0    Conclusion on Dhari Devi Temple Restoration Proposal.

    The group is of the view that the architecture of  temple  in  southern
    part of India and in Northern part of India  is  altogether  different.
    The INTACH proposal takes care of the  people’s  acceptability  of  the
    temple in terms of design, plan, facade and overall architecture of the
    temple.

    The project proponent has gone  ahead  with  the  construction  of  the
    uplifting proposal of the temple  in  compliance  with  the  directions
    given under Section 5 of EP  (Act),  1986  on  30.06.2011.   They  have
    followed the directions/ advice given under relevant paras of the order
    of the MoEF.

    In addition to the engineering and construction related impediments  in
    building a well structure which will encroach into the main  course  of
    the river where it is narrow.  There has been tangible progress in  the
    construction of the temple as per restoration plan prepared  by  INTACH
    and which has got the acceptance of the Temple  Samiti  and  the  local
    citizen.

    The Group does not consider it appropriate to thrust an option  against
    the faith, belief, expectation of  the  local  people/stakeholders  and
    which is contrary to  cultural  heritage  of  the  region.   It  merits
    mention that they are totally opposed and appeared contemptuous to  the
    very concept of a well structure for housing the deity.

    A portion of the base rock is planned to  be  cut  and  placed  at  new
    location to form the Deity’s backdrop.  The Group noted that the Temple
    Samiti  and  others  are  in  accordance  with  the  overall  plan   of
    restoration of Dhari Devi Temple as suggested by INTACH.

    The Group also apprehends public unrest, agitation leading to  law  and
    order problem in the event of thrusting upon them the  option  of  well
    structure and other action  causing  prolonged  delay  in  putting  the
    temple restoration issue, in accordance with INTACH plan in rest.”



B.K. Chaturvedi Committee Report

31.    MoEF  constituted  an  inter-ministerial  group   (IMG)   under   the
Chairmanship of Shri B.K. Chaturvedi, Member, Planning  Commission  on  15th
June, 2012 to review and consider certain issues  related  to  environmental
flows, environmental  impact  of  the  hydro-power  projects  in  the  upper
reaches  of  river  Ganga  and  its  tributaries  such  as  Bhagirathi   and
Alaknanda.  MoEF also vide its office memorandum dated  20.7.2012  requested
the Chaturvedi Committee to review the cumulative impact on  flow  of  river
as also the social impacts of the relocation of Dhari Devi  Temple  situated
upstream of the project.   A two-Member Committee  consisting  of  Chairman,
Central Electricity Authority and Chairman, Central Water  Commission,  both
of them are members of the IMG, was constituted to consider the  issue  with
regard to Dhari Devi Temple and to make  suggestions.   The  interim  report
dated 07.09.2012 (Volume II) of  the  two-Member  Committee  on  Dhari  Devi
Temple reads as follows:

    12.3   Construction of Dhari Devi Temple on raised platform

     • The proposed structure of Dhari Devi temple on a raised platform  on
       concrete columns above HFL (at El. +614 m) has been designed by  IIT
       Roorkee and has got necessary clearance / permission  of  the  State
       Government.

     • During the visit, discussions were held with  several  local  people
       and priest of the temple.  All the people  met  with  the  Committee
       were found very positive towards  the  construction  of  Dhari  Devi
       temple on a raised platform.  There was no objection on raising  the
       temple at higher elevation and so the project works can  go  on,  it
       was felt by them.

     • The construction of Dhari Devi temple on raised platform would  cost
       to the Developer of Rs.9.0 crore only.

     • It has been reported by the local residents  that  this  temple  has
       submerged earlier at several times during high floods.  Even on  3rd
       August, 2012 the water level reached up to the floor  level  of  the
       temple (+593 m) and lower part of the temple was  filled  with  silt
       and floating debris, as it may  seen  in  the  following  photograph
       taken during visit.

     • Even if, the dam would not have been constructed, there is always  a
       possibility of submergence of the temple during high flash floods.

    13.    Recommendations of the Two Member Committee

    Based on above findings, the recommendations of the TMC are as under:

     • Considering the significant progress of the project, the  Section  5
       may be withdrawn by MoEF at the earliest so that the  project  works
       are resumed at site keeping in view the national interest  of  hydro
       power sector, benefits of local people, project specific local  area
       development,  feelings/views  of  project  affected   people,   etc.
       otherwise  it  would  be  an  end  to  hydro  power  development  in
       Uttarakhand as well as in the country.

     • Since an expenditure  of  over  three  thousand  crore  rupees  have
       already been incurred on the project,  any  delay  in  commissioning
       would add to heavy burden of interest during the construction  (IDC)
       and escalate the cost of the  project  and  would  make  the  tariff
       chargeable to consumers completely unviable.

     • During the discussion with villagers, it was observed  that  barring
       few individuals, everyone  is  anxious  to  see  completion  of  the
       project as early as possible.  They are in favour of construction of
       Dhari Devi temple on raised platform above HFL at the earliest.

     • Discussions were held with the officers of UJVNL and they were  also
       keen in completion of this project in view of the power shortages in
       Uttarakhand.  The Government of Uttarakhand would get 12% free power
       from the project on its commissioning.

    14.    Conclusion

     • The idea of construction of a 30km power channel in lieu of existing
       dam cannot be accepted at this stage on account  of  (i)  geological
       and geotechnical investigations not done, (ii) enormous cost of  the
       power channel and new diversion dam, (iii) issue of forest clearance
       and land acquisition, (iv) minimum 5 years of construction time, (v)
       very high tariff to be paid by the purchaser.

     • The Dhari Devi temple is not included in the protected monuments  of
       Archaelogical Survey of India  and  it  is  a  local  temple  to  be
       worshipped by nearby villagers only.  All the  local  villagers  and
       the  priest  of  the  temple  are  in  agreement  with  the  project
       authorities to raise the temple on RCC structure above HFL.

     • Option of  providing  a  well  surrounding  the  temple  is  neither
       practical nor acceptable to locals.



32.   Final Report was submitted by B.K. Chaturvedi Committee on April  2013
(Vol 1) before MoEF, inter alia, reiterating its  interim  report  on  Dhari
Devi Temple.  Das Committee, Chaturvedi and Joint Team  constituted  on  the
basis of direction of this Court have, therefore, fully endorsed  the  views
made by INTACH on Dhari Devi Temple.  We find no reason to differ  from  the
views expressed by the expert committee, which  was  submitted  hearing  all
the affected parties,  including  the  Trustees  of  the  Temple,  devotees,
Pujaris etc.  Committee reports to that extent stand accepted.


33.   We are also not impressed  by  the  argument  that  by  accepting  the
suggestions of all the expert committees to raise the temple as  such  to  a
higher place, would wound the religious feelings of the devotes  or  violate
the rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.     Sacred  rock
on which the temple exits is still kept intact and only the  height  of  the
temple increased so that the temple would not be  submerged  in  the  water.
In Orissa Mining Corporation v. MoEF, this Court was  examining  the  rights
of Schedule Tribes and the Traditional  Forest  Dwellers  under  the  Forest
Rights Act, 2006 in the light of Articles 25 and  26  of  the  Constitution.
This Court held that those articles guarantee  the  right  to  practice  and
proposals not only in matters of faith  or  beliefs,  but  all  rituals  and
observation.  We are of the view that none of the rights of the devotees  of
Dhari Devi Temple has been affected by raising  the  level  of  the  temple,
which remains attached to the Sacred Rock.



34.   MoEF proceedings dated 30.06.2011, Report  of  the  Das  Committee  as
well as the Joint Team dated 3.5.2013 refer to the issue of muck  management
and disposal, catchment treatment area plan and  green  belt  and  also  the
safety of the Dam.

Safety of the Dam

35.   Dam safety and security is a matter of paramount  importance,  failure
of which can cause serious environmental disaster and  loss  of  human  life
and property.  Proper surveillance, inspection,  operation  and  maintenance
of dams is essential to ensure  for  safe  functioning  of  the  Dams.   The
Central Water Commission (CWC) is a premier technical organisation of  India
in the field of water resources.  The Commission is also entrusted with  the
general responsibilities of  initiating,  coordinating  and  furthering,  in
consultation with the State  Governments  concerned,  schemes  for  control,
conservation and utilisation of water resources throughout the  country  for
the purpose of flood control, irrigation, drinking water  supply  and  water
power development.  Safety  of  dams,  in  our  country,  is  the  principal
concern of the State Government.  The State Government  has  also  to  carry
out investigation, planning,  design,  construction  and  operation.   AHPCL
says, so far as SHEP is concerned, engineering and technical  parameters  of
the dam are clearly narrated in the detailed project report which, in  turn,
are assessed by CEA in consultation with the CEC and GSI.    The  norms  and
regulations laid down by the concerned authorities, and  whether  those  are
strictly followed or not, have to be assessed and  monitored  by  the  Nodal
Agency, CEA/Ministry of Power as well as the GSI.


Safety and security of the people

36.   Safety and security of the people are of paramount importance  when  a
hydro electric project is being set up and it is vital to have in place  all
safety standards in which public can have full confidence to safeguard  them
against  risks  which  they  fear  and  to  avoid  serious  long   term   or
irreversible environmental consequences.  The question  as  to  whether  the
recent calamities occurred at Uttrakhand on 16.6.2013 and,  thereafter,  due
to  cloud  burst,  Chorabari  Lake  burst  due  to  unprecedented  rain  and
consequent flooding of Alaknanda river etc. has affected the safety of  SHEP
has also to be probed by the MoEF,  State  of  Uttarakhand  and  Dam  Safety
Authority etc.


Muck Management and Disposal

37.   Construction of SHEP  involving  excavation  of  earth  and  rock  has
generated large quantum and with  the  objective  to  protect  the  disposal
areas from further  soil  erosion  and  develop  the  surrounding  areas  in
harmony with the environment, the muck disposal plan  is  formulated.   Muck
disposal  plan  gives  quantification  of  muck,  identifies  location   and
activities  wherein  muck  is  generated,  during  excavation  and  blasting
operation and quantifies muck generated from the activities  with  relevance
to  disposal  areas.   The  Das  Committee  visited  the  project  site  and
submitted a status report on 29-30 August, 2012 which has  dealt  with  muck
disposal, details of which have already been dealt with in the earlier  part
of the Judgment.  Report  of  the  Joint  Committee  dated  03.05.2013  also
refers to the AHPCL’s action plan regarding  muck  management  and  disposal
and recommended that remaining work, particularly,  of  the  permanent  site
No.8 and 9 be carried out at the earliest.  AHPCL has given the  details  of
the work carried out for muck disposal.  Failure of  removal  of  muck  from
the project site may also  cost  flooding  of  the  project  areas,  causing
destruction to the environment and to the life of property  of  the  people.
MoEF and State Government and all  other  statutory  authorities  would  see
AHPCL takes proper action and steps for muck management and disposal.

Catchment Area Treatment (CAT)

38.   CAT is required to be carried out by the project developer along  with
R  &  R  and  greenbelt  activities,  primarily  to  mitigate  the   adverse
environmental impact created by  the  project  construction.   CAT  is  also
resorted  to  reduce  the  inflow  of  silt  and  prevent  sedimentation  of
reservoirs.   CAT  management  involves  steps  to  arrest   soil   erosion,
rehabilitation of degraded forest areas through  afforestation,  controlling
landslide and rockfalls through civil engineering  measures  and  long  time
maintenance of afforestation areas.  Silt inflows in river  water  not  only
result in reduction in storage capacity of dams, but also lead to  increased
wear and tear of turbines.  Therefore, CAT is  of  crucial  importance  with
regard to hydro electric projects.      CAT plan has been  prepared  by  the
Uttrakhand  Forest  Department  and  the  Project  Proponent  has  paid  the
estimated amount of Rs.22.30 crores to the State Forest  Department  towards
implementation of CAT Plan.


39.   We may, in this connection, refer to the brief note submitted  by  the
AHPCL wherein  they  have  referred  to  landslide  which  occurred  in  the
catchment area of dam Manari Bhali Stage-I in  August  1978  blockading  the
Bhagirathi River with a dam of muck, about 40 KM upstream of dam.  This  dam
of muck  breached  on  its  over  after  12  hours  and  the  monsoon  water
accumulated during this period gushed out in form of a wall of  water  about
20 meter high.  The flood receded after a few hours, but  the  dam  did  not
suffer any damage.  It was pointed  that  during  this  flash  flood  period
boulders up to 250 tonnes in weight had hit and rolled over  the  dam.   The
discharge in the river had risen to 4500 Cum per sec.  Further it  was  also
pointed out that in August 2012, partly constructed Srinagar Dam also  faced
similar type of flood.  This time due  to  cloud  bursts  and  breaching  of
coffer dams in the project upstreams, the water level at the Dam rose by  17
meters, but after the flood receded, no damage to the dam was noticed.   The
discharge in the river had risen to 6500 Cum per sec.     AHPCL,  therefore,
maintains the stand that the structure of the dam is strong enough  to  bear
the pressure not less than 6500 Cum per sec of water discharge.

40.    The  Principal  Secretary  of  Forest   Department,   Government   of
Uttarakhand submitted in a short affidavit dated 10.05.2013, explaining  the
steps they  have  taken.   The  primary  responsibility  is  on  the  Forest
Department to carry out effectively the CAT Plan.   Proper  steps  would  be
taken by the concerned authorities,  if  not  already  taken.   MoEF,  State
Government and all other authorities will see the same is fully  implemented
at the earliest, so also the recommendations made by  the  Joint  Team  with
regard to CAT.

Green Belt Development

41.   AHPCL, it is seen, has deposited first year budget of  Rs.203.6  lakhs
to the State Forest Department for  green  belt  rim  of  the  reservoir  in
August 2012.  Although green belt area is earmarked the technical  documents
based on  the  maximum  flood  level  in  the  reservoir,  the  rim  of  the
reservoir, could  only  be  determined  and  developed  after  reservoir  is
impounded.  Proper  steps  would  be  taken  by  the  Forest  Department  of
Uttarakhand to carry out the green belt development area in  question.   The
MoEF, the State Government etc. would see that the  proper  steps  would  be
taken by all the authorities including the  AHPCL  to  give  effect  to  the
directions given by the Joint Team.

42.   Going through the reports of Das Committee,  Chaturvedi  Committee  as
well as the Joint Team and  after  perusing  the  affidavits  filed  by  the
parties, we find no reason to hold up the project which  is  almost  nearing
completion.  MoEF,  AHPCL,  Government  of  Uttarakhand,  Forest  Department
would take immediate steps to comply with all the  recommendations  made  by
Joint Team in the report dated 03.05.2013 and also oversee whether AHPCL  is
complying with those directions as well.


43.   Under such circumstances, the Appeal in SLP  (C)  No.  362/2012  would
stand allowed  and  the  judgment  of  the  High  Court  stands  set  aside.
Consequently the SLP (C) Nos. 5849-5850 of 2012 would stand dismissed.   All
the Transferred matters from NGT are also disposed of as above.


Court’s concern



44.   We are, however, very much concerned with  the  mushrooming  of  large
number of hydroelectric projects in the State of Uttarakhand and its  impact
on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins.   Various  studies  also  indicate
that in the upper-Ganga area, including Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers  and
their tributaries,  there  are  large  and  small  hydro  power  dams.   The
cumulative impact of those project components like dams, tunnels,  blasting,
power-house, muck disposal, mining, deforestation  etc.  on  eco-system,  is
yet to be scientifically  examined.   MoEF  undertook  two  studies  in  the
recent past:

     i) Assessment of Cumulative Impact of Hydropower Projects in Alaknanda
        and  Bhagirathi  Basins  which  was  entrusted  by  National  River
        Conservation Directorate (NRCD) of  MoEF  to  the  Alternate  Hydro
        Energy Centre (AHEC), IIT Roorkee vide proceedings dated  July  14,
        2010.
    ii) MoEF also vide their proceedings dated 23rd July,  2010  authorized
        Wild Life Institute of India (WII), Dehradun to make an  assessment
        on cumulative impacts of “Hydroelectric  Projects  on  Aquatic  and
        Terrestrial  Biodiversity  in  Alaknanda  and  Bhagirathi   Basins,
        Uttarakhand.


45.   AHEC  submitted  their  report  to  MoEF  in  December  2011  and  WII
finalized its report in December 2012.   AHEC made some  recommendations  on
Geology, seismology, soil erosion, sedimentation etc.    Some of  the  major
recommendations of the  study  covered  the  aquatic  biodiversity  profile,
critically  important  fish  habitats  including  recommendation   on   Fish
Conservation Reserve at Nayar River and Bal-Ganga, Tehri Reservoir  Complex.
 WII made recommendations  on  impact  on  aquatic  biodiversity  and  their
habitats, terrestrial component of biodiversity and details about  these  in
the river basins.  Recommendations were  also  made  covering  environmental
flows, conservation, reserve,  strategic  option  of  regulating  impact  of
hydropower  projects  of  different  categories  and   impact   on   aquatic
biodiversity and terrestrial biodiversity in the above mentioned basins.

46.   We have gone through the Reports and, prima facie, we are of the  view
that the AHEC Report has not  made  any  indepth  study  on  the  cumulative
impact  of  all  project  components  like  construction  of  dam,  tunnels,
blasting, power-house, Muck disposal,  mining,  deforestation  etc.  by  the
various projects in question and its consequences on Alaknanda  as  well  as
Bhagirathi river basins so also on Ganga which is a pristine river.  WII  in
its Report in Chapter VIII states as follows:




       “Para 8.3.2     Present and future scenario
            The scenario building  for  assessing  impacts  on  biodiversity
       values portrays very distinctively the present and futuristic  trends
       of the impact significance of hydropower developments in all the sub-
       basins in the larger  landscape  represented  by  the  Alaknanda  and
       Bhagirathi basins.
            It becomes apparent that because of the fact that  many  of  the
       projects are already in stage  of  operation  and  construction,  the
       reversibility in significance of impacts on terrestrial  biodiversity
       is not possible in sub-basins.  Decline  in  biodiversity  values  of
       Bhagirathi II sub-basin have significantly been compounded  by  Tehri
       dam.
         The scenarios provide adequate  understanding  to  make  decisions
       with respect to applying exclusion approach across the two basins for
       securing  key  biodiversity  sites  (such  as  critically   important
       habitats) and prevent adverse impacts on designated protected areas.
         Based on five different scenarios that  have  been  presented  the
       most acceptable option suggests that the decision with respect to  24
       proposed Hydro Electric Projects may be reviewed.”


47.   WII report also states that out of  total  39  proposed  projects,  24
projects have been found to be significantly impacting biodiversity  in  the
two sub-basins and the combined footprint  of  all  24  projects  have  been
considered for their potential to impact  areas  with  biodiversity  values,
both  aquatic  and  terrestrial,  critically  important  habitat  of   rare,
endangered and threatened species of flora  and  fauna  and  IWPA  projected
species.


48.   B.K. Chaturvedi Committee, after referring to  both  the  Reports,  in
Chapter III (Volume I, April 2013) stated as follows:
        “3.66     The River Ganga  has  over  a  period  of  years  suffered
        environmental degradation  due  to  various  factors.   It  will  be
        important to maintain pristine  river  in  some  river  segments  of
        Alaknanda  and  Bhagirathi.   It  accordingly  recommends  that  six
        rivers, including Nayar, Bal Ganga, Rishi Ganga, Assi Ganga,  Dhauli
        Ganga (upper reaches), Birahi Ganga and Bhyunder  Ganga,  should  be
        kept in pristine form  and  developments  along  with  measures  for
        environment up gradation should be taken up.   Specifically,  it  is
        proposed that  (a)  Nayar  River  and  the  Ganges  stretch  between
        Devprayag and Rishikesh and (b) Balganga – Tehri  Reservoir  complex
        may be declared as Fish Conservation Reserve as these two  stretches
        are comparatively  less  disturbed  and  have  critically  important
        habitats  for  long-term  survival  of  Himalayan    fishes   basin.
        Further, no new power projects should be taken up in the  above  six
        river basins.  In the IMG’s assessment, this will mean about 400  MW
        of Power being not available to the State.
        3.67 Pending a longer term perspective on the Ganga Basin Management
        Plan, following policy needs to be followed to implement  the  hydro
        power projects on  the  River  Ganga  on  Bhagirathi  and  Alaknanda
        basins:
        (i) No new hydropower  projects  be  taken  up  beyond  69  projects
        already identified (Annex-VIA-VID).
        (ii)      New hydropower projects may be permitted to be constructed
        with limitations as in Paras 3.52-3.54 above and giving priority  to
        those projects already under construction.
   iii) New hydropower projects which are still under investigation or under
        development are not being proposed for implementation.  However, two
        such projects can be considered and a  view  taken  after  technical
        assessment by the CEA.
        Based on the above, projects at Annex-VID  may  need  a  review  and
        decision till after long term Ganga basin study by IIT Consortium.
        3.70      The River Ganga has been a pristine River.  Over a  period
        of years, it has been used for irrigation, drinking water and  other
        purposes.  The efforts to keep it in the  pristine  form  have  been
        minimal.  The IMG felt that it will be necessary  to  take  measures
        for ensuring that several parts of it which have  so  far  not  been
        impacted continue to be in the pristine form.  Secondly, it consider
        necessary to take measures on pollution, particularly in  the  upper
        reaches and the two basins of Bhagirathi and  Alaknanda.   The  IMG,
        therefore, recommends that six rivers, including  Nayar,  Bal  Ganga
        River, Rishi Ganga, Assi Ganga, Dhauli Ganga (upper reaches), Birahi
        Ganga and Bhyunder Ganga rivers should be kept in pristine  form  no
        further hydropower developments should take place  in  this  region.
        Further, environment upgradation should be taken up  in  these  sub-
        basins extensively.”


49.   In the Executive Summary of Chaturvedi  Report,  on  the  question  of
‘Environmental Impact of Projects’, reads as follows:

    17. Development of new hydropower projects has impact  on  environment,
        ecology, biodiversity, both terrestrial & aquatic and economic  and
        social life.  69 hydropower projects with a capacity of 9,020.30 MW
        are proposed in Bhagirathi and Alaknanda basins.  This includes  17
        projects  which are operational with a capacity of 2,295.2 MW.   In
        addition, 26 projects with a capacity of 3,261.3 MW (including  600
        MW Lohari Nagpala  hydropower  project,  work  on  which  has  been
        suspended by Government decision) which were under construction, 11
        projects with a capacity of 2,350  MW  CEA/TEC  clearances  and  16
        projects with a capacity of 1,673.8 MW under development.

        4.18  The implementation of the above 69  hydropower  projects  has
        extensive implications for other needs  of  this  society  and  the
        river itself.  It is noticed that the  implementation  of  all  the
        above projects will lead to 81% of  River  Bhagirathi  and  65%  of
        River Alaknanda getting affected.  Also there are a large number of
        projects which have  very  small  distances  between  them  leaving
        little space for river to regenerate and revive.

50.    The above mentioned Reports would indicate the adverse impact of  the
various hydroelectric power projects  on  the  ecology  and  environment  of
Alaknanda and  Bhagirathi  river  basins.   The  cumulative  impact  of  the
various projects in place and which are  under  construction  on  the  river
basins have not  been  properly  examined  or  assessed,  which  requires  a
detailed technical and scientific study.




51.   We are also deeply  concerned  with  the  recent  tragedy,  which  has
affected the Char Dham area of Uttarakhand.  Wadia  Institute  of  Himalayan
Geology (WIG) recorded 350mm of rain on June 15-16,  2013.   Snowfall  ahead
of the cloudburst also has contributed to the floods resulting in the  burst
on the banks of Chorabari  lake  near  Kedarnath,  leading  to  large  scale
calamity leading to loss of human lives and property.   
The  adverse  effect
of the existing projects, projects under construction and proposed,  on  the
environment and ecology calls for a  detailed  scientific  study.     Proper
Disaster Management Plan, it is seen, is also not  in  place,  resulting  in
loss of lives and property.  In view of the above  mentioned  circumstances,
we are inclined to give following directions:

        1) We direct the MoEF as well as State of Uttarakhand not to  grant
           any further environmental clearance or forest clearance for  any
           hydroelectric power project in the State of  Uttarakhand,  until
           further orders.

        2) MoEF is directed to constitute  an  Expert  Body  consisting  of
           representatives  of   the   State   Government,   WII,   Central
           Electricity Authority, Central Water Commission and other expert
           bodies to make a detailed  study  as  to  whether  Hydroelectric
           Power Projects existing and under construction have  contributed
           to the environmental degradation, if so, to what extent and also
           whether it has contributed to the present  tragedy  occurred  at
           Uttarakhand in the month of June 2013.

        3) MoEF is directed to examine, as noticed by WII in its report, as
           to whether the proposed  24  projects  are  causing  significant
           impact on the biodiversity  of  Alaknanda  and  Bhagirath  River
           basins.

        4) The Disaster Management Authority, Uttarakhand  would  submit  a
           Report to this  Court  as  to  whether  they  had  any  Disaster
           Management Plan is in place in the State of Uttarakhand and  how
           effective that plan was for combating the present  unprecedented
           tragedy at Uttarakhand.

52.    Reports  would  be  submitted  within  a  period  of  three   months.
Communicate  the  order  to  the  Central  and  State  Disaster   Management
Authority, Uttarakhand.

53.   In view of above, civil appeals and  transferred  cases  are  disposed
of.



                                                             ……………………………..J.
                                              (K.S. Radhakrishnan)










                                                             ……………………………..J.
                                              (Dipak Misra)

New Delhi,
August 13, 2013


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