The National Green Tribunal has directed state pollution control boards to ensure the release of minimum water downstream by hydroelectric projects, saying business or commercial interests cannot override the requirement of maintaining riverine ecology.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said every hydroelectric project (HEP) irrespective of the date of its commission is under an obligation to release minimum water downstream
“This is a mandate of ‘Sustainable Development’ which is part of the right to life. Accordingly, the tribunal directed compliance by all the Hydro-Electric Projects (HEPs), including in States of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal (North Region), Assam and Jammu & Kashmir,” the bench said.
Environmental flow describes the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and wellbeing that depend on these ecosystems.