hearing on the proposed Dandeli Mini Hydel Project, which is being
opposed by environmentalists, is likely to be held on August 21 at
Karwar, the district head quarters of Uttara Kannada district. The
state government cleared the Rs 180 crore project on June 5 (World
Environment Day) during the Global Investors’ Meet held in
According to the project proposal
cleared by the government, there will be two units, of 9 MW capacity
each. The local people, besides non-governmental organisations, are
opposing the project as they fear it will threaten the area’s
While the rapid environmental impact
assessment study prepared by a consultant, Ernest and Young, at the
behest of the Murudeshwar Power Corporation Limited which is
implementing the project, estimated that over 83 hectares of the
forest will be affected under the project, the Vriksha Laksha
Andolan, a non-governmental organisation maintains that nearly 1,500
hectares of forest is likely to be submerged under the dam to be
constructed downstream of Supa dam across Kali river.
The Vriksha Laksha Andolan, in its
independent study carried out on the project-site, maintained, that
although the Murudeshwar Power Corporation had sought to reduce the
height of the dam to 78 meters from the 88 meters originally
proposed, it would still have an adverse impact on the forests.
Since 42,000 acres of forest land has
already been submerged along the Kali river due to various other
projects, it would be entirely inappropriate for the government to
sanction the Dandeli power project, the NGO maintained.
While the proposal cleared by the
government says that there are no endangered species in the area,
the NGO, in its study, enlisted over 200 species belonging to 44
families. The study has claimed to have found nearly 23 medicinal
plant species in the area.
Former secretary to forest department
A.N. Yallappa Reddy, whose opinion was also incorporated in the
report, maintained that the forest in and around Dandeli should be
protected. The density of forest is high at this area. Since the
proposed dam site is just 22 km away from the Anshi National Park,
it is not appropriate to execute the project, he said.