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30 large Hydro Electric Projects being developed in Himalayan belt: India

Country’s power ministry says no large hydropower project lies in the close proximity of Joshimath, India’s ‘sinking’ town

By our Special Correspondent
New Delhi, Feb 2

30 large Hydro Electric Projects (HEPs) with aggregate Installed capacity of 11137.50 MW are being developed in the Himalayan belt across different states in the country, the Indian parliament was informed on Thursday.

In a written reply to a question in the Indian parliament, the Ministry of Power said that out of the 30 projects, 23 hydroelectric projects, totaling 10381.5 MW, are under “active construction” and seven HEPs totaling 756 MW, “are held up.”

It also said that only two projects  Phata Byung (76MW) and Tapovan Vishnugad (520 MW), located in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, were impacted due to natural events such as floods/ice avalanche in the last 10 years.

The government also says no large hydropower project lies in close proximity to Joshimath town.

“The nearest power project namely Tapovan Vishnugad HEP is also far away from the site where subsidence took place in the recent past,” the ministry said, adding that  Tapovan Vishnugad HEP remains unaffected due to subsidence incident in the Joshimath region.

Nestled in the Himalayas and located at an altitude of 1,875 meters) the Joshimath town in India’s Himalayan region of Uttrakhand is popular with pilgrims and tourists. It recently developed cracks and the authorities in the town had relocated a number of families.
 Experts have been warning, over the years, that large-scale construction work would not go well as the region is geologically not stable.

The government on Thursday also said that no hydro project above 25 MW is taken up before getting environmental clearance which is given by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change after a comprehensive assessment.

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