Environmentalists have demanded that government should withdraw the ‘green’ tag given to hydro-power projects and stop further subsiding the sector, especially large projects.
A report on environmental hazards and risks of hydro construction in the Himalayas prepared by Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective, a group of activists, seeks withdrawal of the ‘’green tag’’ given to hydro-projects. The report compiled by Himdhara clearly points out that hydro-projects are not eco friendly.
The report titled “The Hidden Cost of Hydropower” highlighted the risks associated with hydropower generation, especially in Himalayan regions like Himachal Pradesh. “Over the last few years increasing evidence has emerged that hydro power production may not be so ‘clean and green’ after all. This document compiles evidence of the impacts triggered by underground construction for run of the river (ROR) hydropower projects, highlighting the issues of environmental hazards and risks involved,” said Manshi Asher from Himdhara. Echoing the fragility of the Himalayan region due to geological instability and climate change related disasters like flash floods and cloud bursts, the report highlights the role of construction activities that accentuate this fragility. She pointed out that a report of the state’s own disaster management cell says that around 10 mega hydropower stations are located in the medium and high-risk landslide area.
Visuals and testimonies of affected people from project sites in Kinnaur, Kullu and Chamba falling in the Satluj, Beas and Ravi basin collected over the years have been used to show the impacts. Case studies like that of the Parbati II, Karcham Wangtoo, Kashang and Bajoli Holi projects illustrate how there has been drying up of springs, damages to houses, farms and forests.