Himachal Pradesh government on Monday decided to monitor lean-period water discharge in the rivers from hydro power project on a real time basis and use geo-informatics space applications for photo monitoring of dumping in all upcoming projects in the state.
The government decided for real time montioring after a meeting between Centre for Science and Environment Director General Sunita Narain and Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. She also met Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu and Principal Secretary (Power) Deepak Sanan and discussed various initiatives to protect environment in the state.
I am particularly excited about Himachal Pradeshs decision to introduce a cash-benefit regime for project-affected families wherein they will be getting direct cash in lieu of 1 per cent free power share ,beside 12 per cent free power already allowed to the state. There is a need for other states to replicate the move and make affected people equal partners in the projects, she said here before returning to Delhi. Narain is expected to visit state soon and undertake a study of the hydel projects and their impact on environment,including rivers and forests,beside peoples livelihood.
Earlier,Narain raised concerns about reported damage to environment and felling of forest trees for setting up hydel power projects and laying of transmission lines.
The chief minister,who was assisted by officials of the environment department,said the government was fully committed to preservation of environment and detailed steps already taken to stop felling of trees,ban on polythene bags and regular monitoring of water discharge and dumping by the project promoters.
He sought Narains help in getting states demand for green bonus accepted by the Centre,an issue which the state government has already raised with the environment ministry.
Dhumal also asked the Centre to issue notification to ban use of metallic packaging material and other material being marketed in plastic packaging,which were hampering environment protection process of the state. He said the government would soon be providing garbage bags in all HRTC bus to collect garbage thrown out by the passengers.
Later,the chief secretary briefed Narain on the state scheme to cover all households under rain water harvesting scheme under the NREGA Scheme in next three years. She also gave information about Aryabhatta Geo-Informatics and Space Application Centre for monitoring of natural and man-made resources and decentralise decision-making process.
Sanan briefed Narain on newly-proposed scheme of cash benefits to the project-affected families in case of hydro power projects. Secretary (Environment) Nagin Nanda also held discussions with Narain for measures to adopt a sustainable model of development in the state.