SC refuses to interfere with HC order on plea on Tapovan-Vishnugad & Rishi Ganga hydro projects

The Supreme Court Monday refused to interfere with the Uttarakhand High Court verdict that had dismissed a petition seeking the cancellation of Tapovan-Vishnugad and Rishi Ganga Hydro Projects in the state.A glacial burst had triggered a flash flood in the Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers in February 2021, completely demolishing the Rishi Ganga hydel project and ravaging major parts of the Tapovan Vishnugad hydro-electricity project being built over Dhauli Ganga.


PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 26-09-2022 23:45 IST | Created: 26-09-2022 23:44 IST
SC refuses to interfere with HC order on plea on Tapovan-Vishnugad & Rishi Ganga hydro projects
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The Supreme Court Monday refused to interfere with the Uttarakhand High Court verdict that had dismissed a petition seeking the cancellation of Tapovan-Vishnugad and Rishi Ganga Hydro Projects in the state.

A glacial burst had triggered a flash flood in the Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers in February 2021, completely demolishing the Rishi Ganga hydel project and ravaging major parts of the Tapovan Vishnugad hydro-electricity project being built over Dhauli Ganga. According to some accounts, a landslide at a height of over 5,600 metres had caused the flooding.

In its July, 2021 judgement, the high court had noted the plea seemed to be a ''highly motivated petition'' which was filed at the behest of an unknown person or entity. It said it was not convinced about the bona fide of the petition.

The plea challenging the high court order came up for hearing before a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka, which observed that there were ''sweeping prayers'' in the public interest litigation (PIL) filed before the high court.

''The petition filed before the high court was a completely unstructured petition and thus, we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned order under Article 136 of the Constitution of India,'' the bench said in its order.

''We are, however, not giving our imprimatur (authoritative approval) to the observations in the impugned judgement so far as some of the persons who had raised the importance of environment before and were before the Court and possibly their contribution should not have been tarred, to that extent,'' it said.

The apex court made it clear that since the judgement was passed on a PIL, if there are any affected parties, it does not foreclose their rights.

''The special leave petition is dismissed in terms aforesaid,'' it said.

The five petitioners, all residents of Chamoli district, had sought HC directions to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Uttarakhand government to revoke the forest clearances and environmental clearances granted prior to February 2021, to the Rishi Ganga and Tapovan-Vishnugad Hydro Projects ''since the old clearances have become redundant in the current post-flood scenario''.

Besides seeking cancellation of the Tapovan-Vishnugad and Rishi Ganga Hydro Projects ''in view of future safety and stability'' of the terrain, the plea had also sought a direction to the MoEF&CC and the Ministry of Jalshakti to initiate ecological restoration of the entire watershed area of Rishi Ganga sub-basin to ensure the future stability of the terrain.

It had said the state should ensure secure and safe rehabilitation of Raini village along with ecological restoration of the affected areas and the cost of rehabilitation and restoration works of the affected areas may be given by the proponents of the hydro project.

The Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Plant is a 520 MW run-of-river hydroelectric project being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand.

Rishi Ganga is a 105MW hydro power project. It is planned on Rishi Ganga river/basin in Uttarakhand. More than 200 people working inside the tunnels of these projects had perished in the tragedy. Police said a total of 205 people had been reported missing after the tragedy and 82 bodies were found.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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