Hunger strike to prevent hydel power projects on Ganga tributaries

Dehra Dun : The efforts of the Uttarakhand government to make the state surplus in power, so that it could sell the excess power and generate some money for its cash starved coffers received a setback with environmentalist Prof G D Aggarwal, who has now assumed the name of Swami Gyanswaroopanand declaring that the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers as also the Ganga will be kept free of hyro-electric projects.

It may be mentioned here that the Alaknanda and Bhagiratghi rivers meet to form the Ganga at Devprayag, which means that all power projects in the pipeline or proposed not only upstream of Devprayag on the Bhaigrathi and Alaknanda and also downstream on the Ganga will be in jeopardy.

Asserting that no hydel power projects will be allowed on these rivers, he said that a survey was also being done along the basin of the Mandakini and Alaknanda to see where the hydel power projects were coming up so that they could also be stopped. Projects on the Bhagirahti and ganga have already been stopped, he added.

With various other organization associated with the Ganga having also come up in support to say no to projects on the river and its major tributaries, it could well be curtains for projectsloike Koteshwar, Srinagar, Vishnugad, Kotlibhel and others which are in the process of coming up. Prof Aggarwal will be undertaking a hunger strike against these projects from Nov 27.

It may be recalled that it was because of the earlier hunger strike by Aggarwal against the hydel power projects on the Ganga that the centre had agreed to the religious sentiment of the now saffron clad Swami and other religious organizations and banned them. However, the major tributaries like the Alaknanda and Mandakini had been left out of the purview of the ban.

Former Uttarakhand chief minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said that he had opposed the ban imposed by the centre on the setting up of hydel power projects on the Ganga and the Bhagirathi and as chief minister of the state had written to the Govt of India that Uttarakhand be given 500 MWs of free power from the central quota to compensate for the ban that had been imposed on the new projects on the two najor rivers of the state.

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A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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