Dams on Himalayan rivers imperil Uttarakhand ecology: Activists

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI) Environment activists from the hill state of Uttarakhand have demanded stoppage of construction of all tunnel dams on the Himalayan rivers saying it was disturbing the fragile ecology of the region.

Nadi Bachao Andolan, an organisation working for the conservation of rivers in the state said the tunnel dams were being constructed in a highly sensitive zone which has experienced devastating earthquakes in the early 1990s.

The Andolan activists called on state Chief Minister B C Khandoori here and handed him a memorandum urging him to ensure that all was done to save the rivers and the ecology of the region. Mr Khandoori was here last week in connection with the meeting of chief ministers of NDA-ruled states.

Besides, the Himalaya Seva Sangh and Jal Sanskriti Manch of Uttarakhand have also raised their voices against the construction of dams.

They said Uttarakhand was in the process of constructing around 220 dams on its important rivers in order to become power generating state, but these dams were threatening the existence of major rivers originating from the Himalayas like Ganga Yamuna, Mandakini, Saryu, Song, Mahakali and many others.

Several villages were being destroyed due to the construction of Lohainag Pala and Pala Maneri projects near Gangotri, and land sinking had in several villages like Pala, Kyark, Sainj, Ongi, Kunjan, Tihar of the region, Chai village of Chamoli and Riyari village of Rudraprayag.

The traditional water sources and canals have dried up and agricultural land has been destroyed in this region, they added.

''The construction companies have brought in a massive workforce from outside the region that has altered the demography of the area and has put up a lot of local pressure on the local people and the women, in particular, feel unsafe in their home space,'' they alleged.

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