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Ganga held captive
The Ganga in her full and natural flow when the The river flow after the dam when almost all the
Maneri Bhali 1 dam is not functioning and no water water is diverted into tunnels.
is diverted. (taken at exactly the same spot as the (taken at exactly the same spot as the picture
picture beside) beside)
This is the plight of our National river Ganga. White Himalayas with lush greenery all around & a milky
white flowing Ganga is no longer a visible sight. After the construction of rather useless 3 dams, Ganga
has reduced to a dry bed. There is only a small patch left that is still untouched & is the only path where
she still flows in her original pristine form. But soon this sight shall also be taken away from us as she’ll
reduce to a set of tunnels & lakes.
The Government has planned a series of
hydro projects on the last stretch of
unhampered, free flowing Ganga between
Uttarkashi District (Maneri) and Gangotri.
Since these projects are planned as a
cascade, consecutively following one after
the other, the entire stretch of 80 km of
river will be reduced to no more than a
series of reservoirs and canals.
Currently their proposals have provision of
leaving 2 to 3 cumecs flowing in the river
bed - this means basically hardly 2 feet of
water where the river bed is 8 to 10 feet
wide. In fact downstream of the existing
dams like Maneri Bhali I and 2 one can
barely wet one's ankles and this is supposed to suffice for the Ganga River.
STATUS OF PROPOSED PROJECTS BETWEEN GANGOTRI AND RISHIKESH.
1. Bhairon Ghati 1 and 2 (between Gangotri and Uttarkashi) - 47.6 I 240 MW's
(temporarily suspended after prof. G.D. Agrawal fast unto death.)
2. Loharinag - Pala (between Gangotri and Uttarkashi) - 600 MW's (under construction)
Builders: NTPC Ltd.
Current status: Temporary suspension of construction till the next meeting of National
Ganga River Basin Authority. However, after the survey by the team from the Environment
ministry the plan to continue with this dam has been indicated) Power Minister Mr. Shinde, halting
work on the project via letter dated19-02-2009 given to prof. G.D. Agrawal. In this letter he also assured
that no further projects would be undertaken on the Ganga. This was never followed.
3. Pala - Maneri (between Gangotri and Uttarkashi) - 480 MW's (proposed)
(temporarily suspended after prof. G.D. Agrawal fast unto death. However, after the survey by
the team from the Environment ministry the plan to continue with this dam has been
4. Maneri Bhali 1 (between Gangotri and Uttarkashi) - 90 MW's (completed in 60's-70's).
5. Maneri Bhali 2 (between Uttarkashi and Rishikesh) - 304 MW's (completed in 2008).
6. Tehri dam (between Uttarkashi and Rishikesh) - 2400MW's (completed in 2006).
7. Koteshwar hydro project (between Uttarkashi and Rishikesh) - 4OOMW's (under construction)
8. Kotlibhel lA hydro project (between Uttarkalhi and Rishikesh) - 200MW's (proposed)
9. Kotlibhel 2(between Uttarkashi and Rishikesh) - 520MW's (proposed)
Environmental & Technical problems:
1. Gangotri Glacier’s Retreat will Increase with Dams:
2. Water Quality Degradation: No Ganga-Jal as we know it:
3. Ruin of Ganga’s Ecosystem:Loss Of Biodiversity and Endangered Species status for
4. This area is in Seismic zone 5 and heavy blasting , tunneling, reservoir would cause a
dangerous chaos in terms of earth quake.
5. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) report major defects in Loharinag Pala and Pala
a. The EIA of Pala Maneri and Loharinag Pala make the most astounding statement 'apart
from village temples, no monuments of cultural, religious, historical, archaeological
importance are found and hence no impact is envisaged.'The sanctity of the Ganga is
not even thought worth mentioning.
b. Present MoEF has admitted that EIAs study each project separately while the study of
the cumulative impact of all the projects on the river is not done, which in fact would give
the true picture as to the environmental damage. This in the case of fragile Ganga’s
ecosystem acquires magnified significance.
1. Ganga was declared a National River by the Prime Minister on 4th November 2008: Just as
there are strict laws protecting the national bird, the national flag and all national monuments and
just as we have the prevention of insults to national honor act 1971, similarly it is intolerable that
the Ganga should be compromised in any manner what so ever
2. Every citizen of this country has a Right to practice his/her faith. Ganga forms an integral
part of the Indian civilization, tradition and culture. To take a bath and worship the Ganga at any
spot along her banks is an integral part of our culture. How can a government take this right away
from millions of its citizens?
3. Past history regarding dam building on Ganga: After united opposition under the leadership of
Madan Mohan Malviya and the participation of people from all over India and the various kings,
the British were forced to sign the 1916 treaty whereby no further work would be done by the
British on the Ganga without the prior consent of the Hindus. It is ironical that a colonial
government respected the wishes of its citizens more than the present day democratic
government in such a vital issue.
Feasibility of these projects:
a) Sub-planned Performance of Pre-existing dams on Ganga: The Maneri Pali I and The Tehri dam
are performing poorly due to Increased silt and dropping water levels.
(b) True Costs Of Hydro Power much more than stated costs: As per studies of Dr Bharat
Jhunjhunwala, an economist, the hidden social-cost of hydro-power is at least 300% more than financial
CONCLUSION (For the Upstream between Gangotri to Rishikesh) - WHAT THE GOVT. NEEDS TO
1. To permanently cancel the Loharinag Pala, Pala Maneri and Bhairon Ghati 1&2 projects
irrespective of work done.
2. To ensure a free Ganga between Uttarkashi and Rishikesh and hence to cancel Koteshwar,
Kotlibhel lA and Kotlibhel 2;
3. To ensure that no new projects come up on the Ganga now or in the future and restore the
precious ecology destroyed by these current projects.
4. To proactively take steps to save Himalyan Water Towers and promote the ecosystem. In
the longer run, easing the power deficit without solving the water-supply crisis will just intensify
future shortages of water.
5. To release sufficient water in hydro-projects already constructed from Gangotri to Rishikesh and
finally in phases to decommission all existent hydro-projects on the Ganga.
Hemant Dhyani, Mallika Bhanot
Ganga- Ahvaan, Uttarkashi.