J&K project through: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently granted a stay on a decision by the state government to cancel a contract for the 1,200-MW Sawalakote hydroelectric power project. The project is coming up on the river Chinab in Doda district. Based on a petition filed by the Sawalkote Consortium, which is executing the project, the court asked the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation to maintain status quo in regard to the project and restrained the state government from proceeding with global tenders. The consortium had filed the petition against the state government's decision to cancel the contract for the Sawalkote project. In the second week of November, the state cabinnet had cancelled the contract, on the basis of a report submitted by a cabinet sub-committee. The Rs 7,340-crore project was awarded to the consortium led by a Norwegian company NCC International, Ozaltin of Turkey and Hindustan Construction Corporation.

LACK BENCH Challenged: The US-based Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has filed a lawsuit in a court in Riverside, California challenging Banning city's approval of the "Black Bench Development'. Banning plans to construct 1500 suburban sprawl-style houses on natural grasslands and dense vegetation at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains as part of the Black Bench programme. But it has not complied with the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires careful examination and disclosure of all environmental impacts of proposed developments. CBD claims that the development will contribute to global warming, air pollution and other environmental hazards. As California is the leading US state in greenhouse gas reduction strategies, including new laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions, compliance with the Act is a critical step, the conservation body noted.