Skip to main content

Uttarakhand dams: Protests force Govt of India to agree to "review" its stance

By Surender Arya et al
Following protests in Uttarakhand, especially in Pithoragar and Almora, against the proposed Pancheshwar and Rupaligad dams, and in Delhi in front of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Government of India is learnt to agreed to have a re-look into all the documents received by the Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEFCC for the clearance of the two dams.
Meeting activists protesting outside MoEFCC, joint-secretary Gyanesh Bharti said he would also look into other issues raised before him after he was told that if the government did not stop its move towards what they called "destruction of Uttarakhand", strong voices would be raised in villages and cities.
If in protests in Delhi were led by National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) and Mahakali Lok Sangathan (MLS), elsewhere they were led by Uttarakhand Parivartan Party, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal and Uttarakhand Ekta Manch, supported by MLS activists.
In Delhi, activists breached the gates of MoEFCC and entered in with banners and posters. With a little embarrassment, the security personnel took everyone outside the ministry building, but later, joint-secretary Bharti met a delegation consisting of Harendra Awasthi, Vimal Bhai and Shridhar.
If Vimal Bhai apprised the senior official of irregularities, procedural deficiencies, use of police force, political interference and pressure, and violation environmental laws during public hearings, Awasthi spoke about how, instead of gardens of guava fruit, there existed forests of the fruit. "Migration is the lowest in our area in comparison to whole of Uttarakhand", he said.
Shridhar said that the environmental figures were incorrect and studies were incomplete, insisting, all the studies should be completed in time, and till then, EAC should not recommend environmental clearance. Following official assurance, protests ended with the warning that if the ministry approves the dams without looking into the issues they had raised, it would have to face a strong reaction from the people.
In Almora, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party and supporting organisations held a protest in front of the office of the district magistrate, to whom they delivered a letter, insisting that EAC should not clear the dams. Party chief PC Tiwari said there were irregularities in the public hearing in the district. Rekha Dhasmana said the dams would adversely impact livelihood of people, while Govind Ram Verma said, "We will not tolerate displacement in the name of development."
In Pithoragarh, supported by members of MLS, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal sent a memorandum to the EAC. MLS' Sumit Mehar, who met a local official, said, there was lack of information among the 84 villages that were affected, especially in the interior ones, and the government was carrying out paperwork keeping the public in the dark. "This leads to deception in the name of development", he said.
Village chiefs Chaman Singh, Keshav Singh, Vazir Singh and Tara Singh handed over a separate memorandum on behalf of their villages on irregularities, sending it to MoEFCC through the sub-divisional magistrate.
There was also demonstration in Jhulaghat, a huge market in the Indo-Nepal border. Harivallabh Bhatt said that he did not want to leave his land, while Viplav Bhatt said that the government has proved to be hollow on big questions like displacement and environment. Rural traders swore they would stick to their traditional markets.

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.