The Forest Ministry of Himachal Pradesh has asked Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Limited (JKHCL) to relocate its transmission lines in the state to prevent cutting of trees. The forest ministry has also rejected the application of another hydropower firm, Allain-Duhangan Hydro Ltd, to clear forest land to execute a 192 MW project in Kullu district.

The state government has allotted hundreds of micro and run-of-river hydro projects. Local entrepreneurs are being encouraged to take up small projects of between 2 MW and 5 MW production capacities, while projects above 5 MW have been allotted through open bidding.

“It (Jaypee) has been told to lay the transmission lines on the right bank of the Sutlej river instead of the left bank. The right bank does not have any forest cover or major habitation. More than 22,000 trees will be saved,” Forest Minister J.P. Nadda said told IANS.

JKHCL is construction a 1,000 MW project in Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh.

The forest minister said no independent transmission line would be sanctioned to any power company. “All power companies located in same river basin have been asked to use only one power corridor for the distribution of power. This will avoid multiplicity of lines.”

JKHCL’s transmission line will be used by all other hydropower companies located in the Sutlej basin, Nadda added.

“Now, Allain-Duhangan has agreed to build a common corridor, which could be used by other companies too,” Nadda said.

A forest cover of 78 sq km is anticipated to have been gobbled up in Himachal Pradesh because of development activities, primarily hydropower projects. “Haphazard felling of trees will not be tolerated in future for power transmission,” the forest minister said.

Himachal Pradesh has a vast potential for producing 21,000 MW hydropower, out of which only one-third has been exploited so far. The state plans to generate about 12,000 MW by the 2012.