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NTPC’s power project far away from Joshimath, says Power Minister in Parliament

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Amid the recent crisis faced by Joshimath town in Uttarakhand, where homes and buildings are gradually submerging due to land subsidence, Power Minister R.K. Singh on Thursday told the Parliament that NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad project is far away from the town, even though he said that it is one of the two hydro electric projects in the state, which has been impacted due to floods and avalanche in the past 10 years.

Out of the 30 under-construction hydro electric projects in Uttarakhand, only two of them have been impacted due to natural calamities like floods and avalanches in the last 10 years. These include Tapovan Vishnugad project with a 520 mega watt capacity and Phata Byung project with a capacity of 76 mega watt, Singh said in response to a question in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

Incidentally, NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad project is situated in the vicinity of Joshimath and local people have been protesting against its construction.

Work on it has been stopped for the time being owing to protests due to the land subsidence issue there.

Singh, who was replying to a question on hydro electric projects in the Himalayan region by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha, said that “the nearest power project in Joshimath, namely Tapovan Vishnugad, is also far away from the site where subsidence took place in recent past. Tapovan Vishnugad remains unaffected due to the subsidence incident in the Joshimath region. However, the district administration has issued an order on January 5, 2023 to stay the construction activities at the project site until further orders”.

The minister further told the House that no hydro project above 25 mega watt is taken up without environmental clearance.

Large hydro projects are examined from basin planning, environmental, ecological and geological angles by the Central Electricity Authority along with other appraising agencies like Central Water Commission (CWC), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Central Soil and Materials Research Station (CSMRS) before final clearance is given to a project in the Himalayan region, Singh further said.