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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Dismantling of dams

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Friday, September 10, 1999


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Dismantling of dams

Sir, - Would any one believe that the U.S. has begun dismantling the 7.2 metre high, 85 metre wide Edwards Dam on Maine's Kennebec river? The dismantling is being done to restore the nation's rivers to good health and is expected to inspire the removal of other dams, whose environment costs outweigh their benefits. The removal will not only open the river for recreation, but more important, nine species of Atlantic fish will have access to their traditional spawning grounds.

Outside pressure and independent scientific studies by non- governmental organisations such as the American Rivers and Trout Unlimited helped in forcing the decision. The U.S. administration is now favourably disposed to dam removal.

Many fish biologists say that the salmon will never recover unless Congress agrees to dismantle four large dams on the river.

This instance would give a fillip to the NGOs, which have been working against the construction of dams, as they not only endanger marine life, but engulf large tracts of forests, with severe consequences, including the great problem of resettlement of the displaced people.

Therefore, the Government of India should order an unbiased study (by independent persons) by associating NGOs to work out the socio-economic benefits of such dams and then take a rational decision, rather than sticking to the ego of politicians and bureaucrats.

L. N. Modi,

New Delhi


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