A bench of justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit said the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) "must come out with a concrete proposal" after scrutinising the projects including the hydropower projects of PSUs -- National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Tehri Hydro Development Coporation (THDC).

"The purpose is live and let live," the bench said when lawyer Prashant Bhushan cited a judgement of the court to stress that the issue of degradation of ecology and environment should get primacy and, hence, the projects, which are still at primary stages, be not allowed.

"Attempts should not be made to stall the projects and simultaneously, it should not be case also that they (firms) will have all the freedom," it said, adding the earlier order, prohibiting setting up of new projects, was passed due to massive calamity in the state.

The bench also asked the MoEF to apprise it of the present status on December 5 with regard to the claim of some of the companies that they had been accorded all requisite clearances for setting up of the hydropower projects in the state.

Earlier, the court had ticked off the MoEF for sleeping like 'Kumbhakarna' and had made clear that it is not going to lift the stay on setting up of hydroelectric power projects in the state unless the Ministry comes out with a detailed report on the impact of 24 ventures on ecology and environment.

The court wanted to know why the Ministry was not acting on its orders requiring placement before it of the report of the 13-member expert committee, which was asked to study environmental degradation caused by such projects.

The apex court by its August 13, 2013 verdict had expressed concern over the climate tragedy in Uttarakhand that year and prohibited setting up of any new hydroelectric power project in the state till further orders.

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