Uttarakhand High Court stays construction of HEPs owing to debris disposal issues

The Uttarakhand high court has ordered a stay on the construction of all hydroelectric plants (HEPs) in the state owing to the inefficient disposal of debris by the plant authorities. The court has directed the district magistrates to identify sites for the disposal of debris from all projects within eight weeks.The court has prohibited waste disposal within 500 metres of rivers, rejecting the state government’s request to reduce the range from 500 metres to 200 metres. The order was passed in response to a PIL filed by the Himadri Jan Kalyan Sansthan, which alleged that the debris from the hydro projects was being dumped near the rivers, impeding their flow and causing damage to the environment. In a separate development, the Uttarakhand high court also issued an order stating that beneficiaries of the centre’s rooftop solar energy scheme can set up solar power panels and related equipment only at their houses and compounds, and not in open fields and agricultural land, since such solar projects are meant only for rooftops.

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