The Truth about Dam Projects on Our Sacred river Ganga
1 Spiritual: The spiritual quality of Ganga Jal which is of immense value to the Hindus from time immemorial will be irretrievably lost by construction of dams. The spiritual charges will be destroyed during dashing of water with turbine blades and having been kept static in a reservoir.
Local people lose the river side for cremating their dead.
2 Environment: Hydropower projects cause following damages to the environment:
a. Biodiversity: Hydropower projects will lead to the permanent and irretrievable loss of rare, endangered and threatened terrestrial and aquatic species though this will be partly compensated by enrichment of a new type of biodiversity due to increased moisture around the reservoir.
b. Water Quality: The unique self-purifying properties of Ganga Jal are created due to rubbing of the water with stones Copper, Chromium and minute levels of radioactive Thorium. A study by NEERI has proven existence of these unique properties of Ganga Jal.
c. Forests: Forests get submerged into reservoirs. Tunnel-based projects deplete water in the soil which, in turn, lead to drying of forests.
d. Aesthetic Value: Free flow of the river provides happiness.
e. Coastal Erosion: Trapping of sediments in dams is depriving our coasts of nourishing sediments and leading to erosion.
f. Global warming: CO2 and Methane emissions from reservoirs are adding to global warming.
g. Vector-borne diseases: Slow moving waters of reservoirs provide ideal breeding ground for development of mosquitoes and led to increased incidence of such diseases as malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis. Low flow in rivers is leading to arsenic contamination and loss of health.
h. Sand and fish: Local people are deprived of sand and fish.
i. Global warming: Water reservoirs are also heat reservoirs. They absorb heat in summers and release in winters. This increases environmental temperature leading to many environmental diseases.
These environmental costs are not factored into the decision making process.
3 Cultural: Capacity of mother earth to generate electricity is limited while demand is virtually unlimited due to culture of consumerism. It is necessary to reduce consumption of electricity by curtailing unproductive consumption.
4 Economy: The demand for electricity is mainly for consumption. Growth is mainly coming from services sector which requires less electricity. The true cost of generation of electricity is much higher than the generation costs because the monetary value of the environmental impacts mentioned above are ignored. Selling electricity at low price is not leading to economic growth just as sale of cheap urea has not led to increase in agricultural production.
With rivers broken cheaper inland waterways become inoperative
Storage reservoirs such as Tehri prevent distribution of water to floodplains, ponds and ditches in the wetland ecosystem. This creates shortage of surface water bodies which are also sources of groundwater recharging. The gain in irrigation from storage is nullified by loss of irrigation from ground water depletion.
Recreational activities like water sports, angling and boat racing are hit.
5 Social: Hydropower projects split local communities. A small section of powerful contractors muffles the voice of poor and hapless masses who bear the negative environmental consequences.
Low flows in rivers leads to downstream fishermen losing their livelihood.
Fish has been the cheapest source of calcium among animal proteins. People suffer from many diseases in absence of this nourishment.
6 Hill Development: Hill areas must develop services sectors—software parks, universities and hospitals—to generate revenue as well as jobs. Present model of industrialization will not sustain because factories will flee after tax exemptions come to an end. Uttarakhand will be left with broken rivers and empty industrial areas.
7 Storage of water: The lean season benefits for irrigation from storage of water are largely nullified by less floods during monsoons leading to less ground water recharge.
8 Pollution: Head of River Ganga is in Uttarakhand. Tackling the problem of pollution in the plains will be of relevance only if we first conserve the quality of water that comes from the hills.
9 International: The environmental impacts of thermal and nuclear power are largely global while those of hydropower are largely local hence foreign powers want India to destroy her cultural and spiritual heritage and not develop these sources of energy.
India is depriving Bangladesh of water in the Padma leading to silting. This is against the Ramsar Convention.
In view of above we request the Government of India to:
1 Provide monetary compensation to Uttarakhand for abstaining from generation of hydropower on the Ganga.
2 Introduce time-of-day pricing immediately to reduce peak-load and the pressure for generation of hydropower.
3 Introduce steep progressive pricing of electricity to reduce demand.
4 Order that no new projects will be made; and to remove commissioned and under-construction Run-of-River hydropower projects on the five streams that join the Alaknanda at the five Prayags namely Dhauli Ganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhagirathi. As a second best alternative, these projects may be redesigned to abstract a part of water by making a partial obstruction and leaving remaining flow of the river unobstructed. This will lead to less generation and convert the projects into base load stations. This cost must be borne by the nation.
5 Pindar is the only stream among the five joining at the Prayags which does not have any project commissioned or under construction at present. The Pindar must be declared as a ‘no-go’ zone.
6 Commission a study to examine off-stream storage alternatives such as artificial reservoirs and recharge of ground water aquifers as a first step to the ultimate removal of Tehri Dam.
7 Reduce transmission and distribution losses and adopt Demand Side Management to save energy.
JOIN THE PROTEST AGAINST THESE PROJECTS AND HELP IN KEEPING THE GANGA TO FLOW FREE AND PURE IN ITS NATURAL FORM
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Swamini Sadvidyananda Sarswati
This petition closed 7 months ago
Harih Om! Mother Ganges is the unique sacred river for any Hindu. All Hindu dreams to have one deep in Ganges in life span. Now Government want to build 58 dams on name of the development of the...
Harih Om! Mother Ganges is the unique sacred river for any Hindu. All Hindu dreams to have one deep in Ganges in life span. Now Government want to build 58 dams on name of the development of the Himalayas. BUT dams would destroy the environment, culture and beauty of the Himalayas.