Opposing construction of big dams in the Himalayan region, Congress MP Pradeep Tamta today said his party will launch an agitation against the proposed Pancheshwar dam, saying it would drive more than 31,000 poor families from their homes. “While the world is decommissioning big dams, Indian government is promoting these. Besides decommissioning some big dams Europe and USA have not constructed even a single big dam in the last 20 years,” the Congress Rajya Sabha MP claimed.
Nepal which too has stakes in the Pancheshwar dam is yet to be approve the DPR (Detailed Project Report), he said. “The tendency to construct big dams in the Himalayan region not only deprives hill villages of their cultivable land and traditional habitation but also makes the region more susceptible to earthquakes and landslides which cause loss of lives and property,” Tamta said.
Tamta said that in its DPR on the proposed project, the WAPCOS (Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Water Resources) has said the compensation package will be given to only 1,306 families. “Congress asks the state Government where would the rest of the 29500 families go? It is clear that these families will be given meager compensation in the name of rehabilitation, which we will raise before the people,” said Tamta.
According to the Congress MP, the history of big dams in hill region indicates that these constructions give prosperity to other regions at the price of destruction of hill regions. “While Bhakra Nangal Dam sank Himachal Pradesh to give prosperity to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, Tehri dam gave prosperity to UP, Punjab, Haryana and other states by drowning Garhwal region of the state. The Pancheswar dam will sink bigger parts of eastern Kumaon region to give prosperity to UP and other states in the plains at the cost of the original people of the region,” he said.