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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.