In news– An independent panel of the World Bank is considering a plea by residents of Haat village, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand to investigate environmental damage from the under-construction Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP) in the district.
Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP)-
- The 444-MW VPHEP is being built by the Tehri Hydropower Development Corporation (THDC), a partially State-owned enterprise.
- The project is primarily funded by the World Bank and was sanctioned in 2011.
- It is proposed to be completed in June 2023.
- It is a 444 Megawatt (MW) run-of-the-river hydro generation project on the Alaknanda River, which is a tributary of the Ganga.
- Residents in their complaint to the bank panel have said muck dumping from the dam threatens the local Lakshmi Narayan Temple, which is deemed to be of historical and cultural importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Hydropower projects in Uttarakhand have been a controversial issue particularly since 2013 following the 2013 floods in Kedarnath that killed at least 4,000 and caused widespread destruction.
- Following complaints by local environmentalists, the Supreme Court ordered a review of hydropower electric projects and tasked a panel of experts with determining whether they were environmentally sustainable.