New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stopped work on the 130 megawatt (MW) Kashang Integrated Hydro Electric Project in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh until it obtains clearance from the gram sabhas (village councils) of 19 villages affected by it.

A similar principle was applied by the Supreme Court in 2013 when it ruled that 12 gram sabhas would decide whether to allow Vedanta Ltd’s bauxite mining proposal in Odisha’s Niyamgiri hills. All 12 village bodies unanimously voted against the proposal which led to refusal of green clearance to the project.

NGT also expressed concern at the large number of hydel-power projects coming up in Himachal Pradesh, and hoped that the state government would reconsider its decision on projects where work has not commenced or just commenced.

The decision of the tribunal came while hearing a case filed by Paryawaran Sanrakshan Sangarsh Samiti, Lippa regarding green clearance given by the Union environment ministry to the Kashang project.

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