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Kodayar hydel plant a threat to KMTR ecology: Centre

Sub-committee asks Tangedco to obtain consent of National Board for Wildlife

Kodayar hydel plant a threat to KMTR ecology: Centre

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CHENNAI: Kodayar Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project in Kanyakumari district will disrupt the ecology of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) and Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary, stated the sub-committee formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Thursday.

Scientific studies reveal that the area is of high ecological importance and a habitat for various critical and endangered wildlife species including tigers, gaurs, elephants and many endemic plant species, according to a document related to the project.

The proposed project at Kodayar will have a capacity of 1,500 MW and spread across 40.72 hectares. The project will be implemented at Rs. 10,838 crore, if the ministry accords permission.

“Though the inlet tunnel and the power house – the main components of the project – are proposed underground, the probability of impact on the various ecological attributes is higher, which may ultimately affect the wildlife habitat,” the document stated.

The sub-committee has opined that Tangedco should obtain the consent of the National Board for Wildlife(NBWL) for implementation of the project. It has also pointed out that the movement of heavy dumpers, within the forest roads, for muck dumping will be a major concern and needs to be restricted. Tangedco has also been requested to curb cutting and disposal of withered trees in the region of Kodayar Dam-1 as eutrophication is occurring in the upper reservoir.

Following the sub-committee report, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry has directed Tangedco to obtain permission from NBWL and submit documents indicating the project is permissible inside Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) and Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary.

Tangedco had earlier sought environmental clearance in February this year and the EAC observed that the project location is sensitive in terms of dense forest cover, tiger reserve, wildlife sanctuary and biodiversity. It constituted a sub-committee to examine the project site before making any recommendations on the proposal.

Rudhran Baraasu
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