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

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.