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Joshimath landslide: Tapovan Vishnugad hydel project’s tunnel not responsible?

By Shankar Sharma* 

It seems very illogical for the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to even thinking of coming up with such a statement. No one expected it to admit the responsibility, as this news link seeks to suggest: Tapovan Vishnugad hydel project’s tunnel not responsible for landslide in Joshimath: NTPC.
Has there ever been a case wherein any agency of the government (or even a private entity even in a case like that of Bhopal gas tragedy) admitting its responsibility? Even in case of nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, no government has admitted its responsibility. 
 Only because of the public pressure and the intervention by the judiciary, some sort of responsibility/ obligation might have been assigned. But the massive impacts to the affected communities have not been averted, and adequate compensation has always been evasive.
If only the concerned agencies/ authorities are honest in applying their minds to the true welfare of our people, and also heeded to the timely precautions/ warning by the stakeholders and the domain experts, such disasters could have been averted and/ or the impacts minimised. 
 But sadly, in all such cases the true welfare of the project affected communities has not been at the focus of diligent consideration; even if ever such a focus has been feasible for the concerned authorities.
As it has always been, the focus continues to be the commercial benefits/ convenience/ luxury considerations of some distant sections of people at enormous costs to the locals. Some of the associated news reports, as in the links below, should indicate how our authorities have become insensitive to our people's true welfare. 
 If our authorities were to have diligently considered the true costs and benefits of such projects, especially in the case of of Tapovan Vishnugad hydel project, and honestly considered various alternatives available to our country to meet the legitimate demand for electricity, many such disasters, including this particular disaster of long lasting impacts, could have been and can be averted.
Can we hope that such critical wisdom will prevail in the future; especially in the context that there are scores of such high risk/ high impact projects, such as dam based and nuclear based power projects, are in the pipeline?
Can we hope that the concerns of the project affected communities, other stake holders, and domain experts will be diligently considered, and that all their concerns are satisfactorily addressed before pursuing with such obviously high risk projects? See the links below:
*Power & Climate Policy Analyst



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