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Plan for tunnel along Sutlej river dropped

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Shimla:  Facing local protests on environmental issues and the World Bank’s refusal to provide $650 million, hydropower major Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) has dropped plans for a disputed 38-km-long tunnel for its 610 MW project on the Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh, an official said.

The public sector company has now decided on a reservoir-based project that is expected to cost $1,150 million.

Documents accessed by IANS indicate that the company on July 27 submitted an application to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the project’s fresh terms of reference, the first step towards acquiring green clearances.

In the revised design, SJVNL, work on whose maiden hydro project in this hill state started in 2004-05, has decided to create three reservoirs that will supply water to the turbines, rather than feeding it through a tunnel, an official said.

The environmental groups and affected people, under the banner of the Sutlej Bachao Jan Sangharsh Samiti, a group of representatives of villages to be affected in Kullu, Mandi and Shimla districts, have expressed the victory of their campaign to save the original course of the Sutlej with the dropping of tunnel plan.

“The tunnel, if built, would have been one of the longest for a hydro project in Asia and would have led to the disappearance of the Satluj for a stretch of 50 km,” Shyam Singh Chauhan, a resident of the affected area, told IANS.

Besides, nearly 78 villages would have been affected with the tunneling work, he added.

The locals have been agitating against the project since its inception and have also challenged the environment clearance granted earlier to the company by the union ministry of environment at the National Green Tribunal.

The World Bank last April turned down a SJVNL request for a $650 million loan for the project owing to protests against the tunnel.

(IANS)

 

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New Technology Developed to Study Marine Life

The patch called Marine Skin is based on stretchable silicone elastomers that can withstand twisting, shearing and stretching, even when exposed to high pressures in deep waters.

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Their long-term aim is to achieve reliable performance when Marine Skin is attached for up to a year on individual animals of diverse types.
Marine Life, Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have developed a thin smart patch that can withstand twisting, shearing and stretching, even when exposed to high pressures in deep waters and could make studying the behaviour of marine animals easier and more informative.

The patch called Marine Skin is based on stretchable silicone elastomers that can withstand twisting, shearing and stretching, even when exposed to high pressures in deep waters.

“The integrated flexible electronics can track an animal’s movement and diving behaviour and the health of the surrounding marine environment in real time,” said Joanna Nassarm, who was a PhD student in the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia at the time of the research.

Read also: Robot-assisted Tumour Surgery Performed for the First Time in India

Being able to monitor and record a range of environmental parameters is vital in the study of marine ecosystems. Yet existing systems for tracking animals in the sea are bulky and uncomfortable for animals to wear.

Marine Skin has been tested and demonstrated when glued onto a swimming crab, Portunus pelagicus, but is suitable for tagging a wide range of sea creatures.
Marine Life under study by use of Technology, Wikimedia Commons

“Using simple design tricks and soft materials, we were able to beat the current standard systems in terms of non-invasiveness, weight, operational lifetime and speed of operation,” said Nassar, who is now at California Institute of Technology in the US.

“In the current prototype, the location data is supplemented by recordings of water temperature and salinity. Additional sensing capabilities could be added in future,” he said.

“Possibilities include sensing the physiological state of the tagged animals. This would allow information about ocean chemistry to be correlated with the heath and activity of even small animals as they move around in their habitat,” he added.

The data is currently retrieved via wireless connection when the tag is removed. In future, the researchers hope to develop remote data retrieval procedures by overcoming the problems of transmitting signals through water.

Marine Skin has been tested and demonstrated when glued onto a swimming crab, Portunus pelagicus, but is suitable for tagging a wide range of sea creatures.

The team plans to move on to studies with dolphins and whale sharks. Their long-term aim is to achieve reliable performance when Marine Skin is attached for up to a year on individual animals of diverse types. (IANS)

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