JD(U) today accused the NDA Government of "changing its stand" and taking "very casually" the issue of granting approval to hydro projects on Ganga river and sought immediate intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the matter.
Party President Sharad Yadav wrote a letter to the Prime Minister today warning tampering with the river in the valley of her origin will have very serious consequences which can pose serious threat to the country's food and water security.
In a statement, he said that he was worried about the changed stand of the Ministry of Environment and Forest(MoEF), Government of India in the affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court of India about the approval given to the hydro projects on River Ganga.
"Affidavits after affidavits have been given by the Government in the past wherein they had committed the escalation of devastating affect in the flash floods in the disaster of Uttarkhand in June, 2013 and the deteriorating affect on the origin of River Ganga, but in the latest affidavit approval to the hydro projects has been mentioned.
"In my view, it is a very serious issue which the Government is taking very casually as number of documents from Experts and Committees are available showing concern for protection of river Ganga because of hydro projects installation," Yadav said in the statement.
In his letter to Modi, the JD(U) President recalled that he had repeatedly been raising the issue of the deteriorating Ganga-Himalayan basin in and outside the Parliament and had also written letters to the Prime Minister in this regard.
"It is extremely unfortunate that the Ministry of Environment, Government of India has recently submitted an affidavit in an ongoing case in the Supreme Court wherein they have mentioned as approval given to hydropower projects on the Ganga and her tributaries in Himalayas.
"On one hand, you have shown your commitment towards protection and conservation of the Ganga and her rejuvenation and on the other, her very source is being destroyed and tampered with," Yadav said in the letter.
He wondered if an origin of the river was destroyed then how the Government was promising to protect the Ganga river.
"I do not think that we have forgotten the massive tragedy of flash flood disaster in June, 2013 in Uttarakhand but at the same time the government seems to have not been serious as the way it has given approval to hydro projects as mentioned in the latest affidavit submitted to Supreme Court.
"In the year 2013, the affidavit submitted by Government clearly stated the devastative role of the hydro projects in escalating the disaster of 2013, but in its fresh affidavit submitted, it cleverly paved the way for clearance of the hydro projects," Yadav alleged.
JD-U President said, in the affidavit of the year 2014, the NDA Government had accepted the deteriorating impacts of these hydro projects in the fragile Ganga-Himalayan basin.
"Affidavits after affidavits have been given mentioning the adverse affects of hydro projects on river Ganga, but changing the stand now is really disturbing.
"It is not less than playing with the ecological balance, health and life of the inhabitants not only of the State but of the entire country, which is a very serious issue being dealt with by the Government very casually," Yadav said criticising the government over the matter.
He also rued that "in spite of different reports of experts and committees like BK Chaturvedi IMG Committee, Ravi Chopra Expert Body, G B Mukerjee Task Force Report, CAG, DMMC Report about the deleterious impacts of hydro power projects on various ecological parameters, the government decided to seek clearance from a committee of B P Das to reach at a set of recommendations for the reasons best known to it."
Yadav noted that though the inter-ministerial group is empowered to take a final decision in this regard, the approval given by the Government is "not valid and illegal".
"More so, the body created for the purpose, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has not been consulted before submitting the latest affidavit," he sought to point out.
Yadav said he was sure that the Prime Minister understands the importance of rivers in the country especially Ganga which requires protection for its flow and production of very few megawatts of electricity in front of River Ganga is nothing.
"Needless to mention that tampering with the river in the valley of her origin will have very serious consequences which can pose serious threat to food and water security of the country," he added.
He felt that the government arriving any such decision without discussing this matter in the NGRBA will not be in consonance with the Constitution of India.
"Since there is ample documentation for not installing the hydro projects on Ganga, I shall be grateful if you could immediately intervene in the matter so that right line of action is adopted by the Ministry of Environment in consultation with the Ministry of Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India," the JD-U President said.