Controversy Surrounds Sharavathi Pumped Storage Project in Karnataka

Controversy Surrounds Sharavathi Pumped Storage Project in Karnataka

The Sharavathi pumped storage project in Karnataka has stirred controversy due to allegations of hasty tendering and lack of environmental approvals.

Tender Process and Legal Challenge:

  • Initiated on February 2, 2024, lasting only 21 days.
  • Contractor inquiry timeline brief, leading to concerns about bid formulation.
  • Larsen & Toubro (L&T) legally challenges the process, filing an application in the Karnataka High Court.
  • An interim order prohibits the opening of bid files.

Environmental Concerns and Project Progression:

  • Allegations of proceeding without approval from crucial environmental authorities.
  • Acquisition of necessary lands remains unresolved.
  • Critics advocate for a more deliberate approach given the project’s scale and impact.

Project Details and Significance:

  • Aims to increase power generation through innovative technology.
  • Total power generation capacity planned at 2,000 MW, making it the country’s largest pumped storage power generation unit.
  • Implementation involves extensive civil and electrical work, including the construction of underground tunnels and power-generating units.

Environmental Impact and Conservation Concerns:

  • Concerns raised about the project’s impact on the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats and Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Notable biodiversity in the region, including Myristica swamps and endangered species like the lion-tailed macaque (LTM).
  • Opposition from environmentalists and activists, citing potential destruction of forest areas and adverse effects on wildlife.

Government Involvement and Project History:

  • Originated under the previous government, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Energy Minister DK Shivakumar.
  • Detailed project report approved in a state wildlife board meeting chaired by then CM BS Yeddyurappa in September 2019.
  • Despite a hiatus, gained momentum under the incumbent government, with revised costs doubling the initial estimate.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. When was the tendering process for the Sharavathi pumped storage project initiated?
    a) February 2, 2022
    b) February 2, 2023
    c) February 2, 2024
    d) February 2, 2025
    Answer: c) February 2, 2024
  2. Which multinational conglomerate has legally challenged the hasty tender process of the Sharavathi pumped storage project?
    a) Tata Group
    b) Larsen & Toubro (L&T)
    c) Reliance Industries
    d) Infosys
    Answer: b) Larsen & Toubro (L&T)
  3. What is the total planned power generation capacity of the Sharavathi pumped storage project?
    a) 1,000 MW
    b) 1,500 MW
    c) 2,000 MW
    d) 2,500 MW
    Answer: c) 2,000 MW
  4. Which wildlife sanctuary is particularly affected by the Sharavathi pumped storage project?
    a) Bandipur National Park
    b) Ranthambore National Park
    c) Gir Forest National Park
    d) Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary
    Answer: d) Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary
  5. Who chaired the state wildlife board meeting that approved the detailed project report for the Sharavathi pumped storage project?
    a) DK Shivakumar
    b) Siddaramaiah
    c) BS Yeddyurappa
    d) KJ George
    Answer: c) BS Yeddyurappa