On the wake of environmental threat, World Bank has decided not to fund $650 million to controversial Luhri hydropower project on the Sutlej River in Himachal Pradesh. On its official website, World Bank has showed the project status as dropped.

Sutlej Bachao Jan Sangharsh Samiti comprised environmental groups and affected people of 78 villages of Kullu, Mandi and Shimla district, hails the World Bank decision. However, SJVN Limited, which is executing the project, learned to revive the deal and now working on revised detailed project report.

The decision of the World Bank came subsequent to an appraisal by the USAID team, which has been commissioned to review the environmental and social impacts of the project.

The team had visited in November-December 2013 and interacted with stakeholders, including the project developer SJVNL and the affected people in New Delhi.

Earlier, the Sutlej Bachao Jan Sangharsh Samiti has challenged the environment clearance granted to the project and raised the issue with the National Green Tribunal.

Under pressure from agitation, ministry of environment had reduced the project capacity from 775MW to 612MW. However, Samiti again raised the issue with the government in March 2013 with the demand of scrapping the project.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.