The government has not given permission to any new hydroelectric project in the Upper Ganges region in the last six years, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Replying to supplementary queries during the Question Hour, he said the ministries of Environment, Jal Shakti and Energy have decided not to grant fresh permission to any hydel project in the region, but asserted that hydel projects are required in other parts of the country as it is clean energy.
"In the last six years no fresh permission has been granted to any such projects," he told the House.
"A total of 19 projects are already operational and seven are under construction, of which two are less than 25 MW and six are run-of-the-river projects," he also said.
To a question, the minister clarified that the Chamoli disaster happened due to a glacier fall that led to flooding in the region killing many people, and was not caused due to hydel projects.
"We must understand that the Chamoli tragedy happened due to the glacier falling down. The flood happened due to the flood caused by the glacier meltdown and not due to the power plant. An inquiry is already on in this regard," he said.
Mr Javadekar said there are a total of 37,000 glaciers and some of them are receding and some are increasing.
"In the last six years, the Jal Shakti, Environment and Energy ministries together decided not to grant any fresh permissions to new hydel power projects in the Upper Ganges region. But, we need hydel power in the country as it is clean power. Wherever there is no tinkering with nature, in such areas hydel projects would be set up," he said.
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