Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 2330
TO BE ANSWERED ON 08.08.2016
Biodiversity and ecosystem of Western Ghats
2330. Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:-
(a) whether the Madhav Gadgil Expert Panel on Western Ghats put Athirappilly and surrounding areas in the ecologically-sensitive list and clearly stated that impact of the hydel project there may be irreparable on the biodiversity and ecosystem and whether the Central Government has taken note of this Report;
(b) if so, what is the response by the Ministry regarding viability of this project;
(c) whether Kerala Government has sought environmental clearance from the Central Government for the project; and
(d) if so, the details thereof?
MINISTER OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE
(SHRI ANIL MADHAV DAVE)
(a) Yes Sir.
(b) Followed by the Madhav Gadgil Expert Panel on Western Ghats (WGEEP) Report, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had set up a High Level Working Group (HLWG) on Western Ghats under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan. The HLWG recommended that based on revaluation and collection of data on ecological flow, the Government of Kerala, could take forward the proposal, if it so desires.
(c) and (d): The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has accorded Environmental Clearance to the Athirapally Hydropower Project in Kerala on 17.07.2007. Later, based on several representations regarding the impacts on biodiversity and local tribals, a show-cause notice was issued on 4.1.2010 to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). The response of KSEB on the same matter was considered by Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) in their meeting on 20-21 July, 2015 and based on the recommendations of EAC, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has withdrawn the show-cause notice on 09.10.2015.