Nadi Bachao Andolan Himalaya Bhagirathi Ashram Matli
It is with great disappointment that Raksha Sutra and Uttarakhand Nadi Bachao Andolan received the news from the report in Amar Ujala, Dehradun 27.02.09 that the Uttarakhand High Court has granted a stay to the Central Government Order suspending the work on the Loharinag , Pala (600 MW) hydroelectric project. The work on the project has begun with hardly a break in its stride. The Public Interest Petition filed by Rural Litigation and Entitlement Centre, a Dehradun based NGO filed for a stay stating that neither would the natural flow of the river be affected nor is the project causing any environmental damage is a total falsehood. The petitioners have deliberately misled the High Court. They have not visited the site for themselves and have filed for a stay from the sanitised environment of Dehradun. We who live and work in Uttarkashi know the truth. This is not the first instance that this NGO has taken legal action to restart projects that have been stopped because of their dubious benefits. It is quite clear that unlike its name this NGO is working not for rural entitlement but rather for the entitlement of vested interests. This is very saddening. The environmental impact of the project is enormous. Entire mountainsides have been scarred and shorn of their green cover. Thousands of tonnes of excavated rock from the tunnel construction have been dumped on the riverside and threaten to block the flow of the river with the onset of monsoon. The dust being churned day and night by the hundreds of dumpers and trucks operating on the project is choking all life on both sides of the river. Fields that were the mainstay of the primarily agricultural community are lying barren because no growth has taken place for the last 3 years despite the best efforts of the farmers. Pastures which sustained the livestock of the village people have been devastated. Representations by the people to the government and NTPC have yielded no satisfactory results. We have photographic and video evidence of this.