Emphasising on the need to save Sutlej from hydel projects in Kinnaur district, residents and environmentalists have demanded revoking of the cabinet decision of re-bidding for the 960-MW Jangi-Thopan-Pawari hydel project.
Tribal inhabitants in Kinnaur rue that the recent rain had failed to move the state government that had still not learnt any lesson from the recent disaster on June 16.
Him Lok Jagriti Manch convener RS Negi said: "The recent cabinet decision has added to the woes of tribal inhabitants, who were already hit by flashfloods.
The Himayala Niti Abhiyan too has supported the demands of the tribal inhabitants for protection of the environment of Kinnaur from these hydropower projects.
Meanwhile, a retired hydropower engineer-turned-social activist, RL Justa has raised concerns on exploitation of hydropower in a haphazard manner on the Sutlej river basin in Kinnaur.
He has even written to chief minister Virbhadra Singh to put a stop on haphazard exploitation of hydropower in order to prevent further disaster in Kinnaur region.
"In wake of the recent natural calamity in Kinnaur, it was the need of the hour to review the proposed projects in the Sutlej basin so that there is no more damage to the environment in future," said Justa.
He said, "Nine big hydel projects of 7,623 MW are already running from the 320-km stretch of the Sutlej basin in line right from Kahb to Bhakra and on completion of all these projects, Sutlej river will lose its original shape forcing it to pass through various tunnels in a total length of 150 km and most of the remaining length will form reservoirs."
The nine projects, include 633 MW Khab (proposed), 960 MW Jangi Thopan (re-bidding), 402 MW Shongtong Karcha (under execution), 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo (commissioned), 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakari (commissioned), 412 MW Rampur (under execution), 588 MW Luhri (allotted), 800 MW Kol Dam (under execution) and Bhakra Nangal Dam (commissioned).
Besides, 13 hydropower projects of 1,620 MW capacity are also running from the tributaries of Sutlej in Kinnaur district, he added.
These, include 140 MW Chango Yangthang (allotted), 261 MW Yangthang Khab (allotted), 60 MW Ropa (proposed), 12 MW Ropa (proposed), 10 MW Nesang (proposed), 195 MW Kashang I and II (under execution), Kirang 48 MW Kashang III (proposed), 100 MW Tidong - I (allotted), 60 MW Tidong - II (allotted), 210 MW Baspa - I (abandoned), 300 MW Baspa - II (commissioned), 124 MW SVP Bhaba (under execution) and 100 MW Sorang (under execution).
"Considering the implications of these projects on the fragile and seismic zone 5 area, and also in view of the melting glaciers owing to global warming, erratic rains and snow and decreasing discharge in the river and tributaries, time has come to review these projects especially those that are proposed," Justa said.
"There is a need to take cue from states like Uttarakhand where professor GD Aggarwal and other environmentalists forced the government to stop work on four dams, including Lohari Nag Pala Dam, on which the government had already spent crores near Gangotri. It has now been declared an eco-sensitive zone from Uttarkashi to Goukmukh. Similarly, Kinnaur should be declared an eco-sensitive zone," he said.