.........NEW DELHI: To expedite work on the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, a bi-national scheme, primarily aimed at energy generation and irrigation benefits in India and Nepal, an expert panel of the union environment ministry has decided to do away with the proposed joint mechanism to assess its impact on environment.
The environment ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for river valley and hydroelectric projects in May last year had called for a joint mechanism for the environment impact assessment (EIA) of the project.
In a recent meeting, the EAC was of the view setting up of a Joint Mechanism would delay the progress of the project.
“The EAC is of the view that as of now and considering the progress of preparation of EIA reports, setting up of the Joint Mechanism would rather delay the process of this important international project. Hence, let the Public Hearing be conducted based on the EIA report for Indian portion and the project proponent may approach the Ministry for final appraisal for environmental clearance,” said the minutes of the meeting.
The project comprises of a rock-fill dam of 315 m height from the deepest foundation level. It is proposed to have two underground powerhouses with an installed capacity of 5,600 MW. The total submergence area is 11,600 ha -- India - 7,600 ha and Nepal - 4,000 ha.
Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project will be located in Uttarakhand and Nepal and will be implemented by M/s Pancheshwar Development Authority, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The proposed project is envisaged on river Mahakali (known as Sarada in India) which forms the international boundary between India and Nepal, dividing the Far Western Development Region of Nepal from the Uttarakhand. It is a bi-national scheme, primarily aimed at energy generation and with other benefits too.