Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has urged the Government of India to waive off the condition of Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) study levied by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forestry, to undertake execution of hydro electric projects on Chenab river in the State. In a letter written to Jayanti Natarajan, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, he said that the decision of the Union Government was unilateral and contrary to the interests of the State.
Chief Minister wrote that 28 hydro electric projects of varied capacity aggregating to generate 5,800 MW power were at an advanced stage of obtaining clearances. He said that out of these 16 projects with an aggregate capacity of 3,670 MW were scheduled to obtain clearances by the end of 2013-14 while the balance 12 projects with aggregate capacity of 3,179 MW by the end of year 2015-16. He said that the State had allocated 90 percent of its power potential for harnessing which also included 28 projects for implementation over the Chenab river waters. He said that the State had prepared a targeted programme to exploit entire identified hydel potential on priority and such a condition would result in delaying the execution of the projects and thereby the entire hydel potential harnessing. He said that the State had identified over 23,000 MW hydel potential out of which only about 25 percent had so far been harnessed while projects worth thousands of megawatt of capacity were nearing completion in case the condition of CIA study was implemented.
Chief Minister wrote that CIA study for Sutlej basin was in progress and Terms of Reference (ToR) for Chenab basin was awaiting approval of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC). He said that the ToR for remaining three basins was in the final stages of preparation whereafter the implementation process would get speeded up. He said that on harnessing of entire hydel potential the State would be in a position to meet power demand of northern states during Summer season when power consumption increases there tremendously. He said that early harnessing of the hydel potential would be in the best interest of the Nation as a whole and urged Union Minister of State to issue directions to the concerned authorities not to apply CIA study condition on fresh proposals of Chenab river basin for clearances.