Residents of Udaipur panchayat in Lahaul and Spiti are opposing the construction of the 300 MW Shelly hydel project on Chenab river and have sent a memorandum to chief minister Virbhadra Singh and president Pranab Mukherjee through SDM Raj Kishan Thakur.
Residents apprehend that the population of four villages might be displaced by the project. Their main grouse is that that do not trust the executing company Moser Baer to stick to the mandate height of the dam, 187 metre and expect it to circumvent the law to raise the height, endangering the people's lives.
Udaipur panchayat pradhan Shamsher Singh said the height of the dam must be lowered so that there was the minimum of negative impact on their lives.
He added that due to the presence of more than 200 glaciers in the area, avalanches were common and the dam would be a disaster if an avalanche struck.
Zila parishad member of Udaipur Panchayat Amar Nath told HT that the proposed diversion tunnel to be used to take water from the dam to the power station will disturb the water flow in the area. He said that in Kinaur and Kullu, similar tunneling process had dried up water sources, essential for sustaining their livelihoods.
Environment protection committee of Lahaul Spiti chairman Tok Chand Thakur told HT that the project would submerge agricultural land, grazing areas and forest cover.Forest department sources said that 57,000 tress will have to axed for the dam.
Govind Balabh (G B) Pant institute of Himalayan Environment and Development Unit Kullu Head SS Samant said the ecology of the area would be affected after the cutting of trees in such a large number.
Lahaul Spiti deputy commissioner Vir Singh Thakur said that discussions and deliberations were underway on the project.