Uttarakhand Flood disaster, June 2013:
A Short film on: Role of Dams in Uttarakhand Flood Disaster
Return of Ganga, SANDRP and VAMTAM has produced a 12 minutes film Flood Ravage and the Dams of Uttarakhand (Uttarakhand Flood Disaster – June 2013), available in Hindi and English.
In June 2013, the state of Uttarakhand, nestled in Western Himalayas in Northern India faced its worst flood disaster in recorded history. During the disaster and after, both electronic and print media, in English and local languages played an important role in highlighting the manmade nature of this disaster. Some of the man-made facets include the climate change, callous administration with zero disaster preparedness or response and haphazard, coupled with unregulated and unscientific infrastructure building in fragile and vulnerable ecology of the Himalayas and the upper GangaRiver Basin. The building of huge road network, tourism onslaught & infrastructure and hydropower projects, neglecting the disaster vulnerabilities of the region was generally talked about.
This short film tries to give an idea of the role played by existing and under construction hydropower projects in the disaster. It presents information, photos, maps, videos, google images and voices of the affected areas and people in the context of hydropower projects. It contains photos of the dams and tunnels of the hydropower projects before and after the disaster. It provides some first hand accounts of the impacts of hydropower projects on communities. While climate change was a trigger for the disaster, the role played by the blasting, tunneling, damming and deforestation, related to hydropower projects was significant.
SANDRP and many concerned organisations had collectively written to the authorities to investigate the role of the hydropower projects in Uttarakhand disaster. All these writings and advocacy letters is available at – https://sandrp.wordpress.com/category/uttarakhand/.
However, it was the Supreme Court order of Aug 13, 2013 that clinched the matter, leading now to the constitution of a committee headed by Dr Ravi Chopra. It is hoped that since it is appointed following the orders of the Apex court, it will be able to perform its role independently, and get to the bottom of this issue.
We hope this short film will be useful to all concerned including the media, various arms of the governments in Himalayan region in India and neighbouring countries, academic institutions, judiciary, non government organisations and most importantly, the communities who have suffered in the disaster and who are struggling against the onslaught and impacts of massive hydropower projects being developed all across the Himalayan region. We hope the film helps contribute in our collective efforts so that when such event strikes again (climate scientists are telling us that more such disasters are likely all across the Himalayas with greater frequency and intensity in changing climate), their impacts are not compounded further by destructive hydropower projects.
The film is available at: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/uttarakhand-flood-ravage-and-the-dams-short-film-english/ (English) and https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/uttarakhand-flood-ravage-and-the-dams-short-film-hindi/ (Hindi).
Comments on the film and contributions towards costs of this film are welcome. Please also help us take the film to wider groups of concerned people.