Himachal HC seek clarifications on transmission lines in forest

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the IG Forest and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to inform the ways and means being adopted to protect trees while laying down power transmission lines on the banks of the Satluj river.

The recently constituted Green bench comprising Justices Deepak Gutpa and Sanjay Karol yesterday directed Central Government officials to inform the court about the authority and basis of determining the height of the transmission towers by the Jay Prakash Hydro Power Limited.

The High Court sought to know the scope of changing the height of towers in hilly terrain, height of transmission lines and clearance required between top of the tree and transmission lines. The Green bench also observed that the left bank of the Satluj river was covered with forest while the right bank has very little growth. However, it said since the company had obtained permission from the Supreme Court, the aggrieved parties may approach the apex court in this regard.

The High Court said the permissions were subject to conditions like ensuring minimum felling of trees and damage to the flora and fauna of the area. There must be some independent agency to ensure the compliance of conditions, the court observed.

The Inspector General of Forest, Chairmen of Forest and Central Electricity Regulatory Commissions and Power Grid Corporation of India were directed to answer the question by April 30, the next date of hearing.

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