Shimla: Environmentalists under the banner of Himalaya Abhiyan Nithi met Delhi chief minister SheilaDixit and asked her to reconsider the Renuka Dam project for meeting growing water needs of the national capital as the dam project could trigger a major inter-state dispute over water sharing.
â€œScarcity of water in the Giri River on which the Renuka Dam is proposed was pointed out in the meeting with Delhi chief minister,â€ said Ghuman Singh, convenor Himalaya Abhiyan Nithi.
“The river is already providing drinking water to Shimla and Solan town. There are no other water sources in this area apart from Giri that can cater to local needs. Besides water sharing is going to become a major source of conflict between the five states if this project is allowed to come up,” he said.
The chief minister responded by saying that she was not aware of all the problems related to the proposed dam. She also let us know, said Singh, that the Delhi government was merely a purchaser of water and was providing the funds.
The delegations also met Jai Ram Ramesh, minister of environment and forests, about the 749 hectares of forest land which includes 49 hectares in the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary, that would suffer extensive damage from the propose dam project.
The minister took note about the conflicts emerging over development needs, local livelihoods and environment in Himachal.
Demanding an alternative development policy for the Himalayan regions, the environmentalist raised issues of indiscriminate felling and diversion of forests for hydropower and cement plants without implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006.