The himalayan state of Uttarakhand despite adequate greenery and forest cover is reeling under acute water crisis, particularly due to the large sized dams constructed at the cost of environment and displacement of the local populace. While the Uttarakhand himalaya is the largest source of Ganga and Yamuna it’s surprising and shocking that the state itself is reeling under acute water crisis particularly during the summers which is also one of the main reason leading to the large scale influx of the people leaving their villages and thronging the cities, towns and metropolises of the country.
There is a general saying and the established fact that if the science plays with the natural flow of the rivers by constructing huge dams and blocking the uninterrupted natural flow of the river waters emnating from the Himalayan glaciers like the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi that finally meet each other at the main confluence point at Devprayag, at Garhwal, Uttarakhand to make it pious Ganges, the rivers become narrow and dry gradually as majority of its water is stored in the dam for the production of electricity. Sounds shocking that the natural rivers of Uttarakhand have been disturbed by these huge dams resulting water crisis and the environmental imbalance in the himalayan state of Uttarakhand.
A recent shocking instance of the Alaknanda river flowing uninterruptedly and seamlessly from the Himalayas and passing through Srinagar town in Garhwal Uttarakhand has lost its maximum water capacity because of the storing of the excessive water by the large sized Dam built at Srinagar, Koteshwar producing 330 megawatt of electricity. As per the latest reports pouring in, due to the excessive storing of the water of the running river, Alaknanda the same has lost its maximum water and has tremendously squeezed in shape and size with literally negligible water even during the peak winters at Srinagar, resulting in acute water shortage for lakhs of inhabitants of Srinagar Garhwal.
The shortage of water has also led to dying of aquatic creatures like fish etc in large quantity. The environmentalists are therefore badly concerned on the disturbing state of the seamless flowing river since centuries with complete water pressure and full of capacity. It may be recalled that a huge hydropower project had been constructed by the union government with the concurrence of the state government few years ago at Koteshwar, Srikot near Srinagar, Garhwal, Uttarakhand to produce 330 megawatt of electricity.
The environmentalists and the local populace had objected to the construction of this mega Dam but the authorities continued with the project which finally got completed three to four years ago. There is a huge pipeline and high capacity pumps of Garhwal Jal Sansthan installed between Srikot and Srinagar to supply adequate drinking water to the residents of the area. But due to the Alaknanda having been squeezed and subsequent water shortage, the water is not reaching the supply pumps of Jal Sansthan resulting in acute water crisis to lakhs of people of Srinagar, Garhwal.
Not only this but it has also invited people for illegal fishing on vast scale. The aquatic life of the river has also been affected by the water shortage in the river Alaknanda at Srinagar Garhwal. The authorities are now approaching the Dam management to release the water in the Alaknanda river so that the water shortage problem of Srinagar could be resolved and aquatic life of animals in the river is not affected further. In Uttarakhand about 598 large sized dams are said to be in pipeline for construction but have been prohibited by the Supreme Court of India for the time being.
SUNIL NEGI, PRESIDENT UTTARAKHAND JOURNALISTS FORUM