despair over dam stirs
April 17: FROM Rs 192 crore in 1978 to an estimated expenditure
of over Rs 6,000 crore out of which a sum of Rs 4,000 crore has
already been spent but the result has been fruitless.
This is the
saga of the Tehri Dam, which has been under way for the last 23
years and been billed as the biggest hydro project of its kind in
The ambitious project, which could emerge as the only golden egg
laying goose for the cash-starved Uttaranchal state, could not see
the light of the day following a number of movements stalling construction
of the Tehri dam.
of movements on the issue has caused a concern among leaders of
the fledgling state who have decided to write to Prime Minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee and seek his intervention in making the project
The latest in
the series of agitations was the hue and cry raised by Vishwa Hindu
Parishad leader Ashok Singhal following which a committee has been
formed to look into points raised by him and work on the dam, once
has come to a standstill.
of the new state Bhagat Singh Koshiari is desperately trying to
remove the bottlenecks but the same appears a tall order because
ever since its beginning, the project had been surrounded by controversies
and the job had been hampered on several occasions.
when completed, will bring prosperity to the new state and also
add a considerable lot to hydro power generation. But leaders with
their vested political interests have nothing to do with the ground
reality and they exploit gullible masses to pursue their gameplan.
politics on the issue that several thousand crores have been spent
so far but even the first phase of the multi-phase project is far
from being completed,’’ said a senior minister on condition of ano-nymity.
The first phase
of the project was to be completed by next year but the row raised
by Ashok Singhal has thrown the spanner in the works.
The dam officials
wanted to block two tunnels on the site for carrying out the project
but Singhal objected on the ground that the move would turn the
Ganga ‘‘dirty’’ with inflow of nullahs.
of the tunnels was a crucial step but the dam officials could not
go ahead with it. Now a committee has been formed to look into Singhal’s
At least 20
different committees have so far been formed for the ongoing project
on objections raised by a number of people and the work remains
suspended till the committees submit their report.
government has many hopes on the project because it would have given
them ample electricity to export and also provide a platform for
tourism. But now, the leaders are not so hopeful.
Dam saga so far sums up colossal wastage of government money at
the cost of petty politics which blocks general welfare of the residents,’’
commented a senior official of the Tehri Dal Hydro power Development