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Uttarakhand Glacier Burst Fallout: Power Project Plans in Eco-fragile Himachal Regions Spark Fears Among Locals, Experts

Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on February 7, 2021. (File photo)

Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on February 7, 2021. (File photo)

The Himachal Pradesh government has already allocated several power projects in the Chenab basin. Apart from this, several hydropower projects are already in the pipeline for Tandi, Rashil, Bardang, Miyar and Jispa in Lahaul-Spiti.

The Uttarakhand glacier disaster has sparked off fears hundreds of kilometres away. Residents of the Lahaul-Spiti region in Himachal Pradesh are up against proposed power projects in the ecologically fragile Chenab basin. Even researchers have claimed that the area is dotted with a large number of glacial bodies and residents say that it is one of the most fragile parts and falls in a seismic zone.

The Himachal Pradesh government has already allocated several power projects in the Chenab basin. Apart from this, several hydropower projects are already in the pipeline for Tandi, Rashil, Bardang, Miyar and Jispa in Lahaul-Spiti. Concerned by the Chamoli mishap, residents of Tandi and Goshal panchayats held a meeting recently to oppose the proposed projects on the Chenab banks.

One of the residents of the Tholan village from where the proposed dam is supposed to come up, Sham Azad, said, "Our village history says that the village comes in a seismic zone and the land is very fragile. So from the day they have proposed, we have been opposing this move and we have been saying that such projects are not needed for our region. It only adds to the danger."

Azad said that this disaster in Uttarakhand should be a warning signal for authorities and they should not think of going ahead with such plans. The villagers have been up in arms and have even raised objections when government officials visited for examination of the site.

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Tandi panchayat chief Virender Kumar said, “We oppose the decision of the government to set up power projects in Lahaul-Spiti as it will adversely affect the ecology of the area. We have passed a resolution against the Tandi project."

The villagers said that this area in particular is known as the 'young Himalayas' and there is no way that they would allow this to happen.

first published:February 13, 2021, 10:56 IST