GWIC, 17th January, 2015, New Delhi: A compensation application related to cumulative losses to biodiversity and livelihood of fishermen from abstraction of excessive amounts of water for irrigation and from alteration of Ganga by Farakka Barrage Project and hydropower companies was filed before the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi on 31st December, 2014 by a group of environmentalists and activists from across the river basin which includes noted environmentalists like Dr. Bharat Jhunjhunwala, social activists like Shri Anil Prakash (Ganga Mukti Aandolan), Debadityo Sinha (Vindhya Bacahao Abhiyan), Om Dutt Singh (People's Union for Civil Liberties) and others who are working for conservation of River Ganga. The matter was listed before Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal headed by Justice Dr. P. Jyothimani on 16th January, 2015.

The bench has issued notice to the Respondents which include Inland Waterways Authorities of India, Kolkata Port Trust, Department of Irrigation of Government of UP, Farakka Barrage Project, and four Hydropower companies from Uttarakhand.

The applicants have sought compensation for drastic reduction of fish population after construction of Farakka Barrage, dredging activities for navigation, abstraction of water by barrages. Compensation is also sought for the loss of biodiversity, salinity intrusion and land erosion owing to reduced sediment delivery in Sundarban area; and for the loss of aesthetic and cultural value of the Ganga due to construction of barrages & dams that lead to break in flow of the river. Total compensation of Rs. 13,101 Crores per year is claimed from the respondents.

The matter is listed for next hearing on 23rd February, 2015.

The case was filed by Advocate Parul Gupta and argued by Advocate Ankur Sood before the bench. The order can be accessed here

One can visit http://gangawaterway.in/resources/important-reports.html for reports and reference materials related to the issue.

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