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

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).