Himachal ‘gifts’ 20,000 trees to power company

Thanks to lapses on the part of the state forest department, Himachal Pradesh could lose as many as 20,000 trees. The forest department has given a go ahead to a power transmission corridor in a highly eco-sensitive zone.

The forest department has recently allowed Jaypee Powergrid Ltd (JPL), a joint venture of the Jaiprakash Hydro-Power Ltd and the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, to lay the power transmission corridor from Karcham in Kinnaur district to Abdulhapur in Haryana.

The 230-km long corridor will cost around Rs.932 crore.

power transmission line

The department in a shocking move have allowed the JPL to lay the transmission lines from the thickly wooded area from the left bank of the Satluj river, which is under a thick forest cover, whereas the right bank is almost barren. Now simply because of the lapses on the part of the forest department, more than 20,000 trees will face the axe.

JPL had submitted its proposal to the forest department for the diversion of forest land located on the left bank of the river for constructing the power corridor. Working in a typical governmental fashion the department apparently forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for final clearance without studying the impact of the transmission network on forests. Acting on the recommendations of the state government, the ministry also gave its nod to the corridor. 320 hectares of forest area would be diverted for the project.

Had the transmission lines passed through the other side of the river, the forest loss would be just 10 percent of the total estimated loss. JPL had opted for the left bank of the river as the construction cost was higher on the right side since the right bank was not connected to the road. The development of infrastructure like roads and bridges would escalate the cost of laying the lines by Rs.100 crore alone.

According to forest department estimates, over 9,000 hectares of forest land has so far been diverted to non-forest use. Of this, 7,000 hectares were used for hydel projects.

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23 Responses to "Himachal ‘gifts’ 20,000 trees to power company"

  1. Girish   December 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    It is shocking to see a bunch of idiots in forest dept. have approved murder of 20000 trees. I am not sure whether there is any scam hidden underneath to help Jaypee’s economic viability by not diverting it to barren right bank. Whatever it is, justice lies in hanging those idiots on those same trees and conserving those trees for next bunch of idiots.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 4, 2009 at 9:50 pm

      When it comes to bigger business houses then there is no rule for them in Himachal Pradesh. Seems, when JP says bend, the government politely asks – how low?

      Reply
    • Abhishek   December 5, 2009 at 8:26 am

      Where is so called Corporate Social Responsibility CSR of JayPee now? It is a norm with such big companies to publicize few CSR projects they undertaake in return of mega projects they carry out and take the credit. But will they really highlight such cases of damage to environment? They are not fool and and it hardly matter to (ONLY) profit oriented companies. CSR is just a word. Nothing else.

      Reply
  2. Girish   December 4, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    It is shocking to see a bunch of idiots in forest dept. have approved murder of 20000 trees. I am not sure whether there is any scam hidden underneath to help Jaypee’s economic viability by not diverting it to barren right bank. Whatever it is, justice lies in hanging those idiots on those same trees and conserving those trees for next bunch of idiots.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 5, 2009 at 2:50 am

      When it comes to bigger business houses then there is no rule for them in Himachal Pradesh. Seems, when JP says bend, the government politely asks – how low?

      Reply
    • Abhishek   December 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

      Where is so called Corporate Social Responsibility CSR of JayPee now? It is a norm with such big companies to publicize few CSR projects they undertaake in return of mega projects they carry out and take the credit. But will they really highlight such cases of damage to environment? They are not fool and and it hardly matter to (ONLY) profit oriented companies. CSR is just a word. Nothing else.

      Reply
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  4. Abhishek   December 5, 2009 at 9:06 am

    There are numerous cases. take ACC cement plant at Burmana, Bilaspur. Now on NH-21 50% to 60% of traffic movement is of ACC’s compresed ash multi axle vehicles damaging the road & making it worst of its kind. Add to it the traffic of loaded trucks ferrying product to Punjab. Imagine the level of pollution they generate making people and nature suffers in form of annual share of landslides and resulting accidents leading to loss of life. Their drivers are a worst lot with literally no driving manners. I agree it also provides indirect employment to many but was there any cost benefit analysis done for such proposition? Who cares.. Another study can be done for various hydro projects going on across Himachal as well. Corporate Companies just want money at cost of environment or people, whoever comes in the way doesn’t matter.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 5, 2009 at 9:14 am

      Very valid points raised. When JP cement factory was started in Darlaghat it promised employment for Himachalis. How many Himachalis work there, no one knows and how many are in management positions? Does JP comes for campus recruitment in professional colleges across Himachal and what is their intake of students? If you ever visit Karcham, it is one of the dirtiest town with adjoining Tapri.

      JP has all our leaders irrespective of the party affiliation in it’s pocket. None will dare speak a word as their soul lies in the company’s coffers!

      Reply
      • Abhishek   December 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

        You are talking about direct employment and that is another subject of debate. Indirect employment is generated for local community in the form of rents paid by new employees who come there for jobs. It can be in the form of revenue earned by local people, shop owners providing basics facilties and other services. On highways it can be in the form of shops opened to cater to these dhabas, workshops catering to truck driver community. Such indirect employment adds significantly to economic progress of communities/area if its done and taken care of in organized manner along with active participation of local Govt. agencies.

        Reply
        • NITYIN   December 5, 2009 at 10:30 am

          When the govt. has not been able to ensure direct benefits what to speak of indirect benefits. On a side note, if you have noticed children of most of the govt. officials can be found studying at the JP institute in Waknaghat. I wonder why they never could make it to the NIT in Hamirpur.

          Reply
          • Girish   December 7, 2009 at 6:48 am

            JP is pretty low on ethics/ work culture. Expecting CSR compliance from JP would be a complete waste of time. As rightly pointed out Kinnaur is witness to mindless, soulless, heartless damage to environment caused by JP.
            This incident again that JP is again walking on the same path unnervingly.
            All is well that ends well when a few bundles of green paper can make way to our bureaucrats.

  5. Abhishek   December 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    There are numerous cases. take ACC cement plant at Burmana, Bilaspur. Now on NH-21 50% to 60% of traffic movement is of ACC’s compresed ash multi axle vehicles damaging the road & making it worst of its kind. Add to it the traffic of loaded trucks ferrying product to Punjab. Imagine the level of pollution they generate making people and nature suffers in form of annual share of landslides and resulting accidents leading to loss of life. Their drivers are a worst lot with literally no driving manners. I agree it also provides indirect employment to many but was there any cost benefit analysis done for such proposition? Who cares.. Another study can be done for various hydro projects going on across Himachal as well. Corporate Companies just want money at cost of environment or people, whoever comes in the way doesn’t matter.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm

      Very valid points raised. When JP cement factory was started in Darlaghat it promised employment for Himachalis. How many Himachalis work there, no one knows and how many are in management positions? Does JP comes for campus recruitment in professional colleges across Himachal and what is their intake of students? If you ever visit Karcham, it is one of the dirtiest town with adjoining Tapri.

      JP has all our leaders irrespective of the party affiliation in it’s pocket. None will dare speak a word as their soul lies in the company’s coffers!

      Reply
      • Abhishek   December 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm

        You are talking about direct employment and that is another subject of debate. Indirect employment is generated for local community in the form of rents paid by new employees who come there for jobs. It can be in the form of revenue earned by local people, shop owners providing basics facilties and other services. On highways it can be in the form of shops opened to cater to these dhabas, workshops catering to truck driver community. Such indirect employment adds significantly to economic progress of communities/area if its done and taken care of in organized manner along with active participation of local Govt. agencies.

        Reply
        • NITYIN   December 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm

          When the govt. has not been able to ensure direct benefits what to speak of indirect benefits. On a side note, if you have noticed children of most of the govt. officials can be found studying at the JP institute in Waknaghat. I wonder why they never could make it to the NIT in Hamirpur.

          Reply
          • Girish   December 7, 2009 at 11:48 am

            JP is pretty low on ethics/ work culture. Expecting CSR compliance from JP would be a complete waste of time. As rightly pointed out Kinnaur is witness to mindless, soulless, heartless damage to environment caused by JP.
            This incident again that JP is again walking on the same path unnervingly.
            All is well that ends well when a few bundles of green paper can make way to our bureaucrats.

  6. Narad   December 8, 2009 at 5:56 am

    A major disturbing factor is no mainstream news media in Himachal has reported this development. JP certainly has some ‘true’ friends in the media.

    Reply
    • Abhishek Sharma   December 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

      Today there is another story on mayhem created by Rispa project in Kinnaur and related Govt. irregularities covered by The Times of India but only if somebody cares.

      Reply
  7. Narad   December 8, 2009 at 10:56 am

    A major disturbing factor is no mainstream news media in Himachal has reported this development. JP certainly has some ‘true’ friends in the media.

    Reply
    • Abhishek Sharma   December 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm

      Today there is another story on mayhem created by Rispa project in Kinnaur and related Govt. irregularities covered by The Times of India but only if somebody cares.

      Reply
  8. Avi   June 11, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Gifting 20,000 trees to japyee in a eco-sensitive zone is shame on the part of state government and also when there is a more suitable option present! A district which is mostly a barren land due to glaciers, rocky mountains and whose large part is a cold desert without any forestland. The MOEF,the state government and the forest dept. should have atleast once thought before giving clearence that they are responsible and answerable to the people on whom they are really smacking the axe. Purely an act to benefit a company, completely laced with the motives of economic benefit on the cost of the people of a democratic republic. A BIZZARE ACT OF GOVERNING MACHINERY TO SAY!

    Reply
  9. Avi   June 11, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Gifting 20,000 trees to japyee in a eco-sensitive zone is shame on the part of state government and also when there is a more suitable option present! A district which is mostly a barren land due to glaciers, rocky mountains and whose large part is a cold desert without any forestland. The MOEF,the state government and the forest dept. should have atleast once thought before giving clearence that they are responsible and answerable to the people on whom they are really smacking the axe. Purely an act to benefit a company, completely laced with the motives of economic benefit on the cost of the people of a democratic republic. A BIZZARE ACT OF GOVERNING MACHINERY TO SAY!

    Reply

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