New Delhi, July 16 (Calcutta Tube) The Loharinag Pala Dam power project in Uttarakhand, that was stopped in 2008 due to protests, cannot be withdrawn as Rs.600 crore has already been invested in it and Rs.2,000 crore sanctioned, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Friday.
Speaking on the project at an emergency meeting of the National Ganga Rural Basin Authority (NGBRA) – a nine member committee to look into the issue of environmental problems due to dam construction, Ramesh said the project is important for energy production.
‘The group of the ministers has passed this project though I admit that this project should be postponed, but there is an essential need of the energy, the government has the plans and they want to work on it. Without energy, we can never think about development,’ he said.
‘This project will result in energy production only for seven months, while in the remaining months it would be closed. The production of the 600 MW energy would be an asset,’ Ramesh added.
‘The Wild Life Institute of India is also working on this project and it will provide information on how the environment will be affected by the project,’ the minister said.
At the meeting, a NGBRA member, Guru Das Agrawal said that development is necessary but not at the cost of people’s sentiments.
The project was conceptualised in 2007. A year later work on it was done only for 10 days before the project work was suspended due to protests. The central government recently decided to resume work at the site.