PUNE: A total of 3,932 hectares of forest land in India has been diverted for 72 wind power projects without any environment impact assessment (EIA) and of this 1,072 hectares is in Maharashtra, says a report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in the city on Wednesday.
The report was released during a conference on green norms for wind power, organised by CSE. Of the total 3,932 hectares 88 per cent lies in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Of this 31 per cent is in Maharashtra.
Presenting the report, CSE's deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said that Tamil Nadu alone has about 40 per cent of the country's total wind capacity but an increasing number of wind developers are moving to states alike Karnataka and Maharashtra and setting up projects in forest areas in these two states.
"The data (since 1980) about the diversion of forest land for setting up of the wind power projects with EIA was derived from Union Ministry of Environment and Forests," Bhusan added.
Forest areas including ecologically sensitive areas like wildlife sanctuaries have been diverted without any EIA. "We also found out that projects on forest land and hilly areas exert higher impact on the ecology and water resources, compared to projects located in the plains," added Bhushan.
Between April 2006 and March 2013, 3,454 hectares of forest land have been diverted for wind power projects.
- Wind projects are not covered under the 2006 Environment Impact Assessment Notification and therefore do not require an EIA.
- MoEF guidelines about forest clearance violated.
- Pace of forest land diversion for wind projects has doubled during the last seven years.
- Average 7.5 months till final clearance; in-principle clearance in many cases in less than a month. One project was cleared in 10 days.
- National Board of Wildlife while clearingprojects falling in eco-sensitive zone never asked for Impact Assessment Study.