Hydel firm responsible for 2013 flood in Srinagar: NGT


    Orders Company To Pay 9Cr As Compensation To Those Affected

    Holding a private hydroelectric company responsible for aggravating the situation during the 2013 flash flood in Srinagar town, the National Green tribunal (NGT) has directed GVK-Alaknanda Hydro Power company to pay Rs 9 crore as compensation to flood-affected residents of the town in Pauri district for damage caused to properties and also for the restoration of flood-affected areas.

    Thousands of metric tons of muck swept by strong currents of the river Alaknanda during the torrential rain on June 16 and 17 caused massive destruction in the town.

    The NGT found the company responsible for not disposing of the muck and debris generated due to the construction work for the 330 MW Srinagar hydroelectric project as per the guidelines. When torrential rains lashed the town on June 16 and 17, 2013, the gates of the dam were closed because of which the reservoir got filled up.

    Later, when the gates of the dam were opened suddenly, a huge volume of water gushed out and flooded some areas of the town. The force of the water was so great that it swept the debris and muck and deposited them in the flooded areas.

    Prem Ballabh, vice-president of Srinagar Bandh Apda Sangharsh Samiti, an organisation of 96 members who had lost their properties in the flood, said, “The flood water would have receded fast had there been no muck and debris. The water remained for long thereby destroying our houses and other structures. The 96 members of the samiti whose properties were lost or damaged will get part of the compensation amount depending on the quantum of loss they suffered.”

    According to Vimal Bhai, convener of Matu Jansangthan, the company has also not constructed a retention wall, because of which the damage was more. The tribunal has directed the company to pay Rs 9,26,42,795 to the Emergency Relief Fund Authority within 30 days as compensation to be paid to the victims affected by the incident. The tribunal also directed Alaknanda Hydro Power Co Ltd to pay an amount of Rs 1 lakh each to the applicants, as well as to Bharat Jhunjhunwala, another respondent, to meet the cost of litigation. It also directed that 1% of the amount of compensation awarded shall be deducted from the said deposited amount and remitted to the registrar, National Green Tribunal, as per the National Green Tribunal Rules, 2011.

    The tribunal also directed the Uttarakhand government to issue necessary directions to the district magistrate of Pauri to depute a s ub-divisional magistrate to look after the claims made by the affected people.

    Source : ETI