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The judicial go-ahead

The Supreme Court clears the Tehri dam project by a split verdict but insists that rehabilitation of the affected people be completed before further impounding of water at the dam site is carried out.

A THREE-JUDGE Bench of the Supreme Court on September 1 held by a 2-1 majority that there was not enough evidence to show that work on the Tehri dam project was carried out without complying with the conditions of the environmental clearance and that if there were lapses at any stage, they were being taken care of by the monitoring agencies. The verdict came in response to a petition filed in 1991 by N.D. Jayal and Shekhar Singh after an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit the Garwhal region, affecting Uttarkashi and Chamoli as well as the dam and Tehri town. Environmental activist Sunder Lal Bahuguna filed an intervention application in 1995, producing as evidence on-the-spot studies of the impact of the project on the environment and the people of the region. [more]