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By : Pardeep Kumar, Kangra

Hydroelectricity in Himachal Pradesh : War between Economy and Environment – June 2013 was dark month in the history of Himalayan States. Prolonged cloud bursting in Himalayan region once again proved the forlornness of the man. Uttarakhand which was the pivot of this mammoth catastrophe witnessed heavy losses in term of man life. Aftermath analysis reported 5700 deaths in Uttarakhand. Himachal Pradesh being a western Himalayan state was not exception to this disaster, 20 people died all over the state.

In the war of “Economy and Environment”, environment once again won. Nature once again proved that it can’t be disregard for longer time. Environmentalist, Ecologist and other NGOs accosted the state government for its chaotic model of development. Surely this holocaust unfurled many questions before Government in particular and Society in general..

Himachal Pradesh was lucky enough that it did not witness heavy loss, but one may ask, was this last catastrophe? What lesson we can learn from this tragedy?

hydroelecricity power plant in himachal pradesh
hydroelectricity in himachal pradesh

The economy of Himachal Pradesh is largely depending upon Hydroelectricity, Tourism and Horticulture. In term of mineral, state is too poor to survive, so in past government has given high priority to development of Hydro project. Estimated hydroelectricity potential of state is 27000 MW of which just 14% has been tackled by government and other private players. Piyush Goel, union minister of Power and Coal in Oct 2015 has asked the state to increase the production of electricity so that growing demand of electricity can be achieved.

One thing is clear that government is not going to compromise with its development plan but it may compromise with environment. Many economist, environmentalist and NGOs have asked government to adopt sustainable model of development so that long term growth of economy can be ensured.

Many government and non government report have expressed their concern over the development of Dam in state. Various scientific studies explain how theses hydroelectricity projects are harmful to ecology and society.

Whenever a new project start a number of trees has to be cut down, people in the vicinity are force to leave their homes, rivers channel has to be changed, water level in rivers decreased and agriculture land has to be abandon.

hydroelecricity plant in himachal pradesh
power plant of hydroelectricity in himachal pradesh

One of the main problems in the development of any dam is its location, often dams are installed in high hills so that potential energy of water can be converted to electric energy. But in this process a number of trees have to be cut down, which include some endangered species like “Rhododendron campanulatum”. Further debris from this project destroyed the ecology in low altitude areas.

Another problem with these dams is that they destroyed the home of many small reptiles and animals. Further dam blocked the water supply in rivers which again threatened the survival of fishes and other marine lives. In low altitude areas agricultural land become unproductive due to low water supply in rivers.

Static water of dam also enhances the level of methane in the environment which is a greenhouse gas. Study also reports that earthquake and landslide increase rapidly with expansion of these types of projects. Further Himachal Pradesh lies in Zone­ V of earthquake and a major earthquake may destroy these dams.

Rehabilitation of people is another problem often government fails to pay adequate compensation to people which impact their lives negatively.

Clearly these dams give us clean energy but society and environment have to pay a very heavy cost. State government should consult all stakeholders in this process because it impacts the lives of all people. Special types of taxes should be imposed on the companies, the revenue of which should be transferred directly to effected people directly.

India is a developing nation its demand for energy is very high if we want to achieve sustainable development we can’t ignored the environment.

क्या आप हिमाचली है और अपने या किसी रिश्तेदार के लिए अच्छा रिश्ता ढूंड रहे है ?आज ही गूगल प्ले स्टोर से हिमाचली रिश्ता की एप डाउनलोड करे और चुने हजारो हिमाचली प्रोफाइल में उचित जीवनसाथी हिमाचली रिश्ता डॉट कॉम पर 

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