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In Pancheshwar dam waters, Uttarakhand’s Jhulaghat town faces Tehri’s fate

Construction of the Pancheshwar dam on the Kali river, to be carried out by India and Nepal, will submerge areas in Pithoragarh, Champawat and Almora districts, officials said

dehradun Updated: Nov 24, 2017 20:43 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Pancheshwar dam,Jhulaghat town
Around 30,000 people will be displaced by the 5040-MW Pancheshwar multipurpose project conceived in 1981.(HT Photo)

Jhulaghat town in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district may go under waters, like Tehri city, after the Pancheshwar dam is built.

Tehri, a princely estate of Garhwal region’s Shah rulers, slowly submerged under waters of Bhagirathi and Bhilanglana rivers in late 1990s after commissioning of the 2400-MW Tehri multipurpose hydropower project.

Construction of the Pancheshwar dam on the Kali river, to be carried out by India and Nepal, will submerge areas in Pithoragarh, Champawat and Almora districts, officials said.

“Though Jhulaghat town faces the spectre of submergence in future, the detailed project report of the project is also under discussion, and the project might see changes,” Pithoragarh district magistrate C Ravishankar told Hindustan Times.

Jhulaghat, a border town with a population of 4000, connects Baitadi district of Nepal with a hanging bridge on the Kali river. People of both the countries use the bridge to cross over to either side of the border.

People of Jhulaghat, which bustled with India-Nepal trade, are now worried over submergence. “It would be a big tragedy if the town is submerged; all our memories would also be submerged along with this town,” said Vinay Bisht, a trader of Jhulaghat.

Around 30,000 people will be displaced by the 5040-MW Pancheshwar multipurpose hydro-electric project conceived in 1981, officials said.

Stuck for around two-and-a-half decades due to international issues, the Pancheshwar project has made progress after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal. The Uttarakhand government has taken steps to hear out people’s sentiments in the three critical districts that are in danger of being submerged. Opposing the dam, the Congress has created ruckus at the public hearings.

“Jhulaghat is known for historic ties between Indian and Nepal because of the hanging bridge,” Bisht said, hoping that the government will change the detailed project report to save the town.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 20:04 IST