New Delhi: The proposed trial run of the Maheshwar dam power project in Madhya Pradesh hit a roadblock with the National Green Tribunal on Thursday restraining authorities from filling water in its reservoir.
A bench headed by Tribunal's Acting chairperson Justice A S Naidu asked the authorities to maintain status quo on the proposal for partially filling up the reservoir up to 154 meters above the sea level.
The Tribunal passed the interim order on a plea by two project-hit villagers against the Centre's nod for closing the gates of Maheshwar dam on river Narmada for filling up the reservoir. The villagers have challenged the Centre's approval, contending that the submergence may lead to "irreparable damage to life and livelihood" of the natives.
The bench gave the order, brushing aside the oppositions to the villagers' plea by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the project proponent, Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Ltd (SMHPCL), a subsidiary of a textile giant S Kumar group company.
"What is this? You are opposing a status quo order just before the vacations (of courts) are to begin... Sorry gentleman. We will say don't fill it (the dam reservoir)," Justice Naidu said.
"It (the dam) is not going to run away. It is not a runaway project. You are not producing electricity. You only want to experiment," the bench said.
The Maheshwar dam, the country's first privately-financed 400 MW hydro power project is one of the big dams of the Narmada Valley Development Project, which entails construction of 30 big and 135 mid-size dams in the Narmada valley.
Two project-hit villagers had challenged the MoEF's May 1 order, allowing partial filling of the reservoir, contending that the submergence caused by filling it would cause irreparable damage to the life and livelihood of the people living there and is "likely to cause death to hundreds of people".


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