Skip to main content

Uttarakhand power channel leak: Green tribunal seeks report on pollution in villages

Counterview Desk
Taking a serious view of the threat of pollution from the power channel of the Srinagar Hydro Electric project, situated in Pauri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Uttarakhand government for a report on the leakage in the power channel and the resulting problems. The tribunal has sought the report on a petition filed by Uttam Singh Bhandari and Vimal Bhai, senior activists with the civil rights group Matu Jan Sangathan in Uttarakhand.

A note by Matu Jan Jan Sangathan:

In the petition, it is stated that the power channel (open canal) of the Srinagar Hydro-electric project, which is on the bank of river Alaknanda in Uttarakhand, is four kilometers long. This channel takes Alaknanda's water to the powerhouse to generate electricity. In 2015, there was a serious breach in the canal, and this resulted in damage to crops and houses in Mangsu, Surasu and Naur Thaapli villages in Tehri Garhwal district.
After this, an inquiry was done by the Wadia Institute in Dehradun, which submitted its report on 30th December 2015. The report recommended re-strengthening of the power channel and an investigation into the structural design. However, due to lack of requisite action, there was another breach in December 2018.
In this context, letters were sent to the District Magistrate, Tehri Garhwal and the Uttarakhand Government, but no response was received. The Hon’ble Tribunal has sought a report within one month via email from the Department of Energy of the Government of Uttarakhand, the Uttarakhand State Pollution Control Board and the District Magistrate, Tehri Garhwal, before the next hearing. The State Pollution Control Board has also been given the responsibility for coordination and compliance.
The order has been sent to the three agencies via email so that they can immediately follow it. In addition, the applicants have been asked to furnish a copy of the petition to the three agencies. We have delivered the papers ourselves to all three places.
Uttam Singh Bhandari and Vimal Bhai filed the petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) through the lawyers of Life Society, Delhi, namely lawyers Rahul Chaudhry and Meera Gopal.
It is known that the power channel of the Srinagar dam has been continuously causing losses every monsoon since 2015. These villages, on the slopes between the power channel and the river, are always facing dangers. Residents of the area have raised these issues in their letters to the district administration and the company as well as in person.
The issue has also been raised through the local MLA. There has also been coverage of the issue regularly in the media. However, there have been no positive results yet. The dam company tried to repair the leakage then, but requisite action was not taken. The villagers were also not paid any compensation for their losses they suffered during this period.
The Wadia Institute is a reputable institute located in Dehradun, which was asked to study the situation in 2015 by the then MLA. However, the government took no cognition of the report upon submission and did not ensure that the company complied with the recommendations. This should have been done since the people in the three villages in the vicinity are living in constant danger. Since the government took no cognizance of the matter even after three years, we had to approach the National Green Tribunal.

The recommendations of the Wadia Institute:

  • About 200 wide zone (across the affected leakage site of the power Channel must be re-strengthened by consulting with the structural Geologist from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun.
  • Further detailed investigation of the structural design of the Power Channel is needed by the agency like the irrigation Design organisation, Roorkee. During this exercise the consultation should be done with the structural geologist of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun.

Our prayers to the National Green Tribunal:

  1. Direct the Project Proponent to repair the power channel and plug all leakages, after conducting proper study of the power channel.
  2. Direct the Project Proponent to implement the recommendations of the Wadia Institute vide its report dated December 30, 2015. 
  3. Impose environmental compensation on the project proponent, i.e. the Respondent No 4, for the negligence in not taking proper measures to plug the leakage from the power channel and on the authorities for not complying with their statutory duties in ensuring the safety of the lives of the residents of Villages Mangsu, Surasu, Naur Thaapli in Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand who have suffered due to the said leakage. 
We hope that soon the affected villages will be rid of the dangers of the power channel.

Comments

TRENDING

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Plebiscite in J&K? Delhi meet demands implementation of UN 'commitment'

Counterview Desk
A citizens’ protest, organised on October 19 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, to protest against the 75 days of “oppression” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) saw over 200 activists, academics, intellectuals, prominent citizens, students, citizens from a large number of groups controversially appeared to suggest holding plebiscite in order to decide the future of the state.

Without tribal consent? 1,000 of 1,700 acres 'acquired' off Statue of Unity, Narmada dam

By Our Representative 
The Gujarat government has already acquired 1,100 acres out of 1,700 acres of the tribal land of six villages – Navagam, Limdi, Gora, Vagadia, Kevadia and Mithi – for developing tourism next to the 182-metre high Statue of Unity, the world's tallest, putting at risk the livelihood option of their 8,000 residents, and is all set to acquire rest of the land, representatives of the villagers have alleged in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…