Indian army up in arms against new power project on Satluj River

Shimla: Outstation post of the army on the north-western India-China border have objected to setting up an upstream hydropower project on Satluj River and obtained a stay from the High Court for development of the 450 MW capacity Shanghton Karcham project as part of it was in the vicinity of an ammunition dump yard.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Division bench of Acting Chief Justice RB Mishra and Justice VK Sharma today restrained HP Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL) from carrying out any excavation, digging and blasting activity at the project site. HPPCL is a state promoted public enterprise for tapping available hydropower potential. [/box] indian army

 Petitioners Western Command of the Indian army and central government have alleged that the HPPCL went ahead with the tendering process and allotted the project execution to a company, which commenced work on the same despite several objections raised by the army between year 2007 to 2013.

The proposed Shanghton – Karcham hydropower project is to come up upstream of the operating 1000 MW Karcham – Wangtoo project on Satluj River in Kinnaur district and is located close to the Indo-Tibet border

The army authorities in the petition state the project is in vicinity of the Ammunition Point of 36 Sector Ordnance maintenance platoon and explosives being detonated to construct a road next to the ammunition dump could seriously undermine safety of the stock.

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The petitioners also contended that a notification was issued in 2005 restricting construction activities in the clearance zone, which was defined as 1200 yards area around the ammunition point.

 The army authorities objected and did write to Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur in September 2007, advising that HPPCL should not acquire land for the project near the ammo dump as no construction was permitted in the area.

 The army in February 2011 also took up the matter with chief secretary, who was asked to issue suitable directions so as to change the project tunnel route so that it did not pass through the clearance zone and to relocate part of the project outside notified area.

The petition states that despite several objections from the army, construction work was going on and substantial work had been carried out.

Before posting the matter for 11 April, the court bench directed that only such activities be allowed at the project site, which do not directly or indirectly affect the security measures. The project general manager has been asked to give an undertaking to the effect.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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