19th May 2010
The very mention of Tehri dam brings one person in my mind, Sundar Lal Bahuguna. His satyagrahas, hunger strikes and the struggles for more than two decades went in vain when the Government succeeded in building massive dam at Tehri across Bhagirathi River.
Our journey from from UttarKashi to Srinagar passed along the Tehri dam backwaters for more than 3 hours.
The dam displaced about one lakh people to generate 2000MW of electricity. Located in a seismic zone, this dam is built to withstand up to 7.2 magnitude of earthquake while 8+ magnitude earthquakes have hit the area in the past.
Since the dam was built recently, one can see submerged villages and broken houses all along the way.
Alarmingly, the Tehri dam has encouraged Government construct dams at several places in Garhwal Himalayas. Throughout our journey in the hills, the dam constructions are proceeding at a brisk pace.
The Government has plans to construct about 53 dams for hydro electricity across River Ganga and tributaries!! This means that from Gangothri to Hrishikesh, the River only flows though tunnels.
The opposition seems to be only from few environmentalists and Sadhus.
It is the same story in other Himlayan states of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The ever increasing demand of the plains has put a lot of pressure on the hilly regions. It makes no sense if locals are not benefited from any projects.
Ironically, there are power cuts in Uttarakand that produces surplus electricity. That explains!!