Capacity of hydropower plants on Ganga to be reduced: Natarajan
New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) To ensure free flow and clean water in the Ganga, the union environment ministry is formulating a plan to cut down the capacity of major hydroelectric plants operational on the river, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said Tuesday.
"Clean Ganga is our topmost priority. We are studying the legality of cutting down capacity of operational hydro-electric power plants on Ganga to ensure free flow (of water)," Natarajan told IANS.
There are a total of 70 small and big hydro-electric projects on the river and of these, 17 are already commissioned while 39 are in the pipeline.
Natarajan also said that in order to check pollution in the river, the ministry is not going to give environment clearance to any new hydroelectric project on the river.
"I have decided not to give environment clearance to any new hydroelectric project on the river. The move will also help in checking pollution in the river and to ensure free flow," she said.
The move comes after the prime minister-headed National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), in its meeting last month, decided to take measures to ensure free flow in river.
Several activists and environmentalists have been demanding that work on all hydel projects on the river be stopped.
The ministry has also called a meeting of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) June 6 to draw a strategy to ensure zero effluent discharge in the Ganga by October.
"I will also call meeting of the chief ministers of states where Ganga flows to seek their support in keeping the river clean," Natarajan said.
The ministry has also proposed to come up with Ganga Commission as a separate statutory body.
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