Welcome to the Archives

Letter to Environmental Protection Board re: Pala-Maneri Project

## Urgent Action ##

Please write to the UEPPCB to voice your concerns over the brazen attempts to violate the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

7th September, 2004

Dr Vibha Puri Das, IAS, Chairman,
Uttaranchal Environmental Protection
and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB),
Uttaranchal Secretariat,
Subash Road,

Sub: “Executive Summary for Pala-Maneri Project” provided at the Public Hearing held on 3rd September, 2004 at Bhatwari

Dear Madam,

The Executive Summary of the EIA placed before the public during the public hearing is clearly a fictitious document and has blindly plagiarized from other reports. We are extremely shocked that this has escaped the attention of the Power Corporation and UEPPCB. Such a total lack of professional ethics undermines the very ethos of UEPPCB and brings a bad name to the entire occupation of assessing and mitigating environmental problems. It severely inflicts the community resulting in discontent over the State. Some examples,

  • The page P-17 section on Disaster management and P-18 indicating the environmental costs are callously copied and the name of the project altered manually using a whitener!
  • A meaningless Environmental Impact Unit table (P-13) is presented which has no methodological basis and even in this there is an error in arithmetic!
  • The data is totally fake although it claims to have surveyed all the villages between 22nd and 25th of April last year. The one village, Aungi, which will have significant impact we personally visited had never come across anyone undertaking such a survey. The report says that the number of affected families is 89 whereas the population is 1988 — an impossible average family size of 22 members!
  • P-10 Risks Due to Earthquakes: The project area falls under the seismic zone II as per the Seismic Mapping Zone of India (IS 1893-1975) where shocks of the intensity up to 4 on Richter Scale are expected. Obviously the consultants not aware of even the 1991 quake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter Scale.

We request that penal action be taken on the Power Corporation, which being an arm of the State instead of showing exemplary standards has fallen prey to the consultant. To rectify the situation we request the Board to constitute an independent agency for undertaking a fresh EIA and base further processes of clearances on basis of this independent and competent assessment.

We deeply regret that we have no other alternative but to seek your intervention in this issue and strictly deny the agency the scope to work in our State and to recommend the CPCB, GOI from banning them for such shoddy work.

Big projects affect significant number of people and such callousness is tantamount to genocide — RITES and others have to realise this reality.

We seek your urgent action so that justice is done to the local communities.