Dams

Development NOT Dams: Pancheshwar affected people demand

(Feature Image: Pancheshwar Temple at the confluence of Saryu and Kali Rivers. Pics: Bhim )

The people to be affected by the proposed Pancheshwar Multipurpose dam project are saying we need development NOT dam in ecologically sensitive Himalayan region.  The untimely Environment Public Hearing (EPH) for 123 to be affected villages in Uttarakhand State has been rushed through in August 2017 with numerous violations as we reported earlier.  

During one week long trip to the affected districts of Champawat, Pithoragarh and Almora, I along with Sumit Mahar of Himdhara visited proposed dam site and few of the villages that may face submergence in the unlikely possibility of the project coming up, to understand the local social and environmental issues.

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Dams

Pancheshwar Dam’s Public Hearing: Neither People nor Environment were heard

The recently concluded Pancheshwar dam Environment Public Hearing (EPH) is classic example of how undemocratically EPH are conducted against the letter and spirit of EIA notification of Sept 2006. Umpteen violations were committed wilfully during three EPH on Pancheshwar Dam on 09, 11 and 17 August 2017 in Champawat, Pithoragarh and Almora district of Uttarakhand.

WHY EPHs IN MONSOON? In July 2017, the proposed Pancheshwar Dam Project planned on Kali river along the India-Nepal border invited sharp criticisms from local groups. Given the ongoing monsoon rain across the disaster prone hills, the people asked the concerned District Magistrates and Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) for the rescheduling[I] the EPH. But overlooking genuine public concerns and incidents of cloud bursts and landslides causing flash floods and road blocks in the project affected districts the authorities went ahead with the EPH plans.  

Continue reading “Pancheshwar Dam’s Public Hearing: Neither People nor Environment were heard”