?Dam won?t last 30 yrs?
NOTED ENVIRONMENTALIST Sunder Lal Bahuguna, known for his Chipko movement and a struggle to stall the Tehri dam, said on Sunday the dam won’t last 30 years as per experts.
On the day when the Tehri plant became operational in Uttaranchal, Bahuguna was in Lucknow attending the ‘environment awareness’ campaign at IIM-L.
He told HT Lucknow Live, “Even the English were not as insensitive as our present day politicians. In 1916 the Englishmen had shelved a similar plan at Hardwar when pointed out that scores of people who were sentimentally attached to the river Ganges would be hurt. Today, despite having logically proved that the dam was not in the country’s interest, the government chose to ignore the protests,” he added.
Urging the people of UP to join his protest, he said western UP would be affected as the fertile soil that the river brought along with it to UP would be trapped in the dam. “Now that the dam is built, I would stress on a massive tree plantation drive all along the Himalayas. Trees are permanent, natural dams. The one, built on the river is temporary and dangerous,” he said.
When quizzed about the relevance of his protest as the dam is already built, he said, “So what, our struggle is still on. I am still sitting near the dam to register my protest at the meaningless construction of concrete.”
Asked how the dam was a security threat, he said the dam was built in a sensitive zone as it is very close to the border area. “Dams could be easy terrorist targets and in case of a terror strike here the damage would be far greater than through other conventional weapons,” he added.
Highlighting the need to conserve water and the need to make an investment in capital formation, he said, “the soil now is getting increasingly toxic and the farmers are resorting to chemical manure to spruce up the produce. Very soon we may end up with water wars if adequate care isn’t taken today.”
Bahuguna said there was a need for Chipko II movement to plant trees. “Trees are our only hope now,” said the man who marched on foot from Kashmir to Kohima and then again went cycling from Gangasagar to Gangotri to raise awareness about the potential dangers of playing with nature.