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Dams might have negative influence on River Ganges, says Water Resource Ministry of India

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Broken end of footbridge over the Mandakini river at Rudraprayag Image: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Hydroelectric projects on Mandakini, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda river might affect Ganges in a negative manner  
  • The water resource ministry wants SC to review these projects
  • The region around the projects are geologically weak and seismically active 

NEW DELHI: The water resource ministry has opposed the hydroelectric projects on the Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and Mandakini River hence contradicting the permission given by environment and power ministries for setting up of dams.

After the Kedarnath incident of 2013, when around 100,000 pilgrims remain trapped in the Uttarakhand valley after serious landslides and bad monsoon, the Supreme Court had put a hold on all the 70 proposed hydroelectric projects on the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi river basin. On May 10, SS Patwalia, additional solicitor general brought to notice that the environment and power ministry has approved the construction of five of the six projects, namely— Lata-Tapovan (171 MW), Jhelum Tamak (108 MW), Kotlibhel 1-A (195MW), Alaknanda (300 MW), Khironi Ganga (4 MW) and Bhyunder Ganga (24 MW).

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The water resource ministry headed by Uma Bharati informed the Supreme Court that any further hydroelectric projects on Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi rivers can be dangerous for Ganga.

State of Sri Kedarnath Temple during the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy
State of Sri Kedarnath Temple during the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy

The ministry argued that the permission was given before the unfortunate Kedarnath tragedy of 2013 but now there is need for a comprehensive hydrological and hydro-geological study to know how dams can affect the flow of rivers.

“All these new projects are coming up close to the existing projects, many of which are in ecologically sensitive areas hindering the source of fresh water resource. Hence, any further project will have substantial impact on ecological footprint of the area,” the ministry said.

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According to the ministry, the permitted projects are around regions which are geologically weak and seismically sensitive. So, there is a need to review these projects. The ministry said that Ganga could remain pure and pristine only if Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi rivers are allowed to flow freely invoking the ‘Aviral Dhara’ of the Indian government which aims for a clean and continuous flow of the river Ganga.

-This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Its true that we need more hydroelectric plants to generate more electricity but not on cost of individuals

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Not only SC but environment experts should intervene in such matters

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SC seeks ideas to enforce anti-sexual harassment law at workplace

The court had issued a notice to all the states in the last hearing of the matter on January 4

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The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels. Wikimedia Commons
The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels. Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the NGO Initiative for Inclusion Foundation (IIF) to give suggestions for effective implementation of a law to curb sexual harassment of women at workplaces, particularly in the private sector.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought the suggestions after the Central government in its affidavit claimed that it has taken steps to enforce the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Appearing for the IIF, senior counsel Sanjay Parikh said there was no implementation of the law in private companies.

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He said a meeting was held with Assocham four years ago but nothing happened after that.

The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels.

The court had issued a notice to all the states in the last hearing of the matter on January 4. The notice was returnable in four weeks. IANS