World Bank calls for river basin-river approach

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Shimla, Nov 10 (UNI) A World Bank study has recommended a basin-wise approach to optimise energy production and minimise environmental and social impact in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal where large number of hydro projects are being set up.

The study, commissioned by both the states in January early this year and carried out by Australia-based Hydro Tasmania consultants for the World Bank, suggests a basin-wise approach as against project-wise approach being followed by these states up till now.

Some of the other recommendations of the study are upstream storage, co-ordination to reduce the cost of de-silting, benefit sharing between all stakeholders and a uniform plan for catchment area treatment.

This would involve collaboration among different stakeholders, including the state governments and private and public developers, to create uniform data for assessing generation.

Nineteen hydro power projects are under construction on the Sutlej River in Himachal and 16 on the Alaknanda River in Uttaranchal.

Appreciating the new provisions of the new hydro power policy of Himachal, the study said that the provisions provide various safeguards to protect the Himalayan Ecology and Environment.

It also welcomed the government's decision to allow release of 15 per cent water downstream for the benefit of the local people and to protect the state's ecology and bio spheres.

The World Bank, which has agreed to finance the 412 MW Rampur Hydropower Project, has also evinced keen interest in funding hydro power projects in the state, it said.

The newly incorporated Himachal Power Corporation is executing the 402 MW Shong Tong Karchham, 243 MW Kashang and 100 MW Sainj hydro power projects, which are being funded by the Asian Development Bank.

UNI

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