Are there flaws in decision to shift HP hydro power project?
A report of state-run Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL) has admitted that the decision of GMR Hydro Power Ltd. to change the location of its mega hydro power project is flawed and might lead to disastrous consequences. The project to build a 180-MW Bajoli Holi power plant on the bank of River Ravi in Bharmour subdivision, nearly 70 km from Chamba town, was awarded to GMR Hydro Power on build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis for 40 years from the date of commissioning. It is likely to be commissioned by January 2018.
The report of HPSEBL acquired through the Right to Information (RTI) Act states that shifting the plant from the right bank of the river to its left bank would prove disastrous for people and the environment in the project area. The report says that constructing the plant on the right bank will consume more time, but if the decision to shift the plant to the left bank, already approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is implemented, it would do irreparable damage to the locals and the environment.
Activists have pointed out that it would be obvious to anyone who visits the site that the project should be constructed on the barren and uninhabited right bank rather than on the populated and green left bank of the river. They have claimed that the shifting has been planned for logistic reasons and would not be environment friendly.