The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has raised several environmental and technical concerns over the Gujarat governments proposed Kalpsar dam project on Gulf of Khambat and sought clarifications that sources said could delay the project.
In a letter to the state government,the EAC said,Such a huge project is always recommended to proceed by similar project details,namely the objectives,the scale of work,location and a brief evaluation report on the fulfillment of the objectives and their sustainability. The scheme would eventually convert a coastal periphery of around 300 km from a saline /brackish environment to a fresh water environment. How will this impact the terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna? Is such a proposal environmentally sustainable in the long run?
The EAC also noted that the documentation provided by the state government is highly inadequate. The documentation on scoping is highly inadequate and needs to be more holistic,as a pre-feasibility report normally provides. It would be desirable to break up the project into individual components objective-wise and provide a PFR report, it said.
The EAC has also sought a CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) clarification/recommendation from the State Coastal Zone Management Authority,besides important technical clarifications.
How will the maximum water level of 4 metres in the reservoir dispose of the highest flood (2.5 million cusecs) from the contributing catchment of 40,000 sq km during high tide? the EAC asked.
In its response,the state government wrote: It is envisaged to prepare a techno-economical feasibility study of Gulf of Khambhat Development Project in three parts,namely,(a) engineering issues,(b) environment & ecological issues & (c) financial issues. The engineering issues will be dealt by national consultants where as environment & ecological issues are proposed to be dealt with by Gujarat Ecology Society (GES),which has been handling environment issues in Gulf of Khambat for long. The financial issues will be dealt with in-house with the help of national consultants.
On September 22,2009,the state government took new decisions regarding delinking tidal power component from the Kalpsar project,shifting of dam alignment approximately 15 km northward,diversion of Narmada water into reservoir through canal from the barrage on the river and construction of a barrage across Narmada river near village Bhadbhut in Bharuch district as a stand-alone project.
The EAC has now said that the prefeasibility study was carried out for old alignment with old features and a new one is needed for the new alignment.