The environmental clearance for the Rs 33,108-crore Pancheshwar hydroelectric dam project in Nepal and Uttarakhand, proposed to be the world’s second tallest at 315 meters, has been deferred.
The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in its meeting on October 24 that pending submission of supplementary impact studies wildlife and environment, the wildlife clearance and a site visit, decision on the project should be deferred, official minutes show.
The project is a joint venture between India and Nepal conceived under the Mahakali treaty signed in 1996. It involves a construction of a 315-meter tall rock-fill hydropower dam across Mahakali River, 2.5-km downstream of the confluence of Mahakali and Sarju River and would have a total installed capacity of 5,040 MW with the inclusion of a smaller 240MW hydropower dam.
According to a news report published in DNA, the project requires a total of 9,100 hectares of land and area of 7,600 hectares, while 31,023 families will lose their land. The EAC said it would require studying the environmental impact assessment report for the Nepal portion of the project to get a holistic view. It also directed the project proponent to obtain wildlife clearance as the project was located 300 meters from the Ascot Wildlife Sanctuary.