Fourth Document

 

Tehri Dam Project

Environment – Rehabilitation

 

 

 

 

Towards Failure and Devastation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matu

Our Soil, Our Heritage

A movement of people uprooted from their soil in Uttarakhand

This Fourth Document

is dedicated to all

those who have been

warning against the

dangers of Tehri Dam

and

who have been fighting for

their rights.

 

 

We thank all those friends and well wishers who have extended their cooperation to prepare this document.

 MATU-Peoples' organisation

 

Cover Photos:

 

  1. Warehouse of grains in Khand Village, Bhagirathi Valley
  2. Announcement of struggle the bank of Bhagirathi River by villagers of Chaam,31-3-2002
  3. Agitation of Tehri residents on Bhagirathi Bridge,31-3-2002
  4. Women of village Bhaldiyana
  5. Women, Still struggling in Tehri Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher: -

 

'MATU'-Peoples' organisation

By-Village Chham, Tehri, Uttrakhand.

By-D-105, Ganesh Nagar, Pandav Nagar Complex,

Delhi-110092

Ph.-91+11+2063871

Email-Vimal_bhai@hclinfinet.com

Readers are free to cite or quote any portion of this document, provided the source is mentioned.                                                                                                           Contribution-25

S. No.

CONTENTS

Page No.

 

Our Submission

2

 

Tehri Dam Project

4

 

Executive Summary

5

1.

Affected Areas of Tehri Dam Project

9

2.

Safety- Environment- Rehabilitation

11

3.

Rehabilitation Policies

13

4.

Land: Games Being Played

18

5.

Environmental Clearance

20

6.

Who Will be Submerged?

With the Dam: After the Construction of the Dam

22

7.

The Cut off Area

Indirectly Affected Areas of the Dam

24

8.

Some Important Contact Addresses

25

9.

Why Secrecy and From Whom?

26

10.

Rehabilitation (?) Sites

29

11.

Thanks to the Monsoon!!!

32

12.

Water Level in the Reservoir:

As Narrated by the Bridge

33

13.

Historical Importance of Trihari (Tehri)

35

 

 

 

 

Annexures: Some Important Documents

 

1.

Demand Charter of MATU

 Peoples' Organisation

38

2.

Demand Charter of Tehri Bhoomidhar

Visthapit Sangthan

40

3.

The Resolution of 10th March, 2002

41

4.

Dams in Uttarakhand

42

 

In Their Own Words

45


 

Our Submission

 

In November 2001, two reports on rehabilitation of Tehri displaced people were published. The first report was published by 'Dams, Rivers and Peoples' Network of South Asia' (SANDRP), which drew following inferences: --------

(Testimonies from the ground, www.janmanch.org/newsletter)

 

In summary, the principal findings of this report are:


· There is practically no participation of TDP affected people in the process of displacement, resettlement or rehabilitation, even if we leave aside the lack of participation in project decision, implementation and monitoring and options assessment.


· The present packages offered to people are unjust and inadequate to ensure that resettlement will lead to attainment of original standards of living.


· The R&R policy, packages and institutional set up adopted for the project does not confirm to policies existing in India for other projects like that of Sardar Sarovar Project, or to the draft National R&R policy, or to the norms set out by the WCD report. For example, SSP policy provides a minimum of five acres of irrigable land with irrigation provided by the state, to each oustee family, with each major son above 18 years considered a separate family. In the case of Tehri, the provision is for 2 acres of unirrigated land, and even that is not applicable to all the affected.


· Twenty-six years after project construction began; there is still no R&R Master Plan.

 

· There is no information about the Rehabilitation Monitoring Committee and
its grievance redressal function among the people, giving rise to doubts about whether it has been constituted. The people have neither been consulted by such a Committee, nor have they been able to put across their grievances.


· There is no decision making process that would have enforceable linkages with the construction of the dam and consequent submergence and displacement. Legally enforceable norms on R&R are conspicuous by their absence.


· While people report a high incidence of corruption and nepotism, there is no independent, credible Monitoring or Evaluation agency or system even regarding displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation issues. Utter lack of transparency on the part of the project and R&R authorities add to the doubts of achieving a just and proper R&R.

Although the dam is to be completed by 2002, or, even if as the Administrative Officer said that it would take at least till 2005, a large majority of the people has not been allotted their lands and where they have, rehabilitation is far from satisfactory. Begun in 1976, it seems surprising, and alarming, that a quarter of a century later, the rehabilitation process is nowhere near satisfactory completion. The people live in perpetual fear of what the future will bring. Stress and anger
levels within the communities are high. A lot of youth told us that they would fight till their last if their lives were going to be destroyed because without proper rehabilitation they were certain to die anyway. Information is confused or non-existent and participation seems ill defined at best, a word thrown in to sound politically correct, but lacking substance.

The people displaced by the Tehri project seem to have a bleak future --worse off than they were before the project; pauperized in the name of development. Ironically called Tehri Development Project, this dam seems no different from previous precedents of large dams, the failures of which are acknowledged even by the Government of India (see GOI October 2000).

 

The second report was published by 'Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties', which highlighted rampant corruption and other irregularities prevailing in Tehri Dam Project.

 

q       Out of a total outlay of Rs. 582 crore for rehabilitation measures, only Rs. 94 crore has been earmarked for the displaced people.

q       Out of the budget for rehabilitation, residential premises for District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police at a cost of Rs. 47 lakhs and Rs. 43 lakhs respectively. A sum of Rs. 2 crore was earmarked for a field hostel, though no amount was spared for building 'Dharmashalas'.

q       Sale of residential flats by the rehabilitation authorities like builders.

q       Rehabilitation becomes the business of moneybags.

q       Lack of clear rehabilitation Policy and disregard for Government Orders.

q       Significant recommendations of Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee were not accepted.

q       Flawed evaluation of socio-economic structure of the community.

q       Exodus of people rather than meaningful rehabilitation is happening in Tehri.

 

Even after one year, the same situation prevails, without any worthwhile change in sight. After one year of publication of these reports, the Diversion Tunnels NO. T-3 and T-4 have been closed and the Central, State Government and the Corporation made an announcement to the effect that Diversion Tunnels T-1 and T-2 would be closed shortly. In spite of these developments, the State Government is not seriously concerned about the issues of rehabilitation, what to talk about the question of adequate compensation for land. Government, Corporation officials and contractors are making constant visits to those places from where construction materials have to be acquired and are giving false assurances to the people that all their grievances would be resolved.

 

q       Soil was taken for construction purposes from DOBRA village, yet the villagers have not been fully rehabilitated.

q       The people residing in CHHAM village of Bhagirathi Valley have forcibly stopped survey work of houses. They are demanding that land should be physically shown and house compensation and land rates should be settled before further survey.

q       In the adjacent villages of KHAND, BIDKOT, SAROT etc., neither the compensation amount of land has not been finalised nor the issue of whether these villages have to be declared partially or fully affected resolved so far.

q       Even after 4 years of award, the displaced people have not been allotted land. For instance, BIDKOT village in the Bhilangana Valley is yet to receive land.

q       Since stone has to be acquired form ASENA village in Bhilangana Valley for dam construction, the government promised immediate rehabilitation. However, the reality is that coercive means have been employed to suppress the struggles launched by the villagers. 48 villagers had been put behind bars as of 8-9 December 2002.

q       Although project authorities claim that they have offered land in Pathri  (haridwar District) to the displaced people, the reality is that people have been repeatedly rejecting the offered land. 

q       5 families returned from New Tehri in the third week of October to amenities-less old township of Tehri.

 

 

 

After long discussion with the affected people in the month of May 2002, MATU, Peoples' Organisation prepared a Charter of Demands (Annexure-I), which was submitted, to the Central and State Governments including all the members of legislative assembly of Uttarakhand. In addition, a series of meetings have taken place between the government agencies and Tehri Bhoomidhar Sangthan on their Charter of Demands (Annexure-II), but the problems are yet to be resolved.

 

In fact, the amount of silt, which has already accumulated in the reservoir, should have occurred in the next 25 years.

 

 In this context, the following issues are most topical:

 

q       Why the reports of Geological Survey of India have not been made public so far?

 

q       Why the meeting of Co-ordination Committee on Rehabilitation has not been held for the past one year?

 

q       Why the Special Grievance Cell as recommended by Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee and approved by the Central Government, has still not been constituted?

 

 

 

 

Tehri Dam Project

1)Tehri Dam

 

# For generation of electricity, facilitation of irrigation and creation of a conservation reservoir, a 260.5 m of Rock fill Dam was envisaged on the Bhagirathi River.

# An underground power-generating unit to generate 1,000 mega watts of electricity (4x250 megawatts) through traditional turbine generating sets was to be set up in the first phase of the construction of the Tehri Dam.

# In the second phase of the construction of the Dam, another underground generating unit to be set up with associated pump turbine units of a capacity of 4,000 megawatts.

 

2) Koteshwar Dam


# On Bhagirathi River, 22 Km. downstream from the Tehri Dam construction site in Koteshwar, a concrete dam of 103.5 meters height, having a capacity of 400 (4x100 megawatts) would be set up for generating electricity and a balancing water reservoir to be created in the same place.

 

# To create two single circuit of transmission for transmitting 765 Kilo Volts of electrical power form Tehri and Koteshwar projects and to lay electric lines to the northern areas, particularly till Meerut.


Executive Summary

 

Affected Population, Families, Township and Villages

 

The Tehri Dam Project has affected around 125 villages including the old Tehri town. Tehri Township along with 39 villages is going to be fully affected and another 86 villages (number may possibly increase) would be partially affected. Wherever less than 75 percent of the families are in the displaced category and have to be rehabilitated, all those villages have been categorised as partially affected. That means that even where 74 families out of a total population of 100 families are eligible for rehabilitation, they have been classified as belonging to partially affected villages.

 

The number of fully and partially affected villages may increase since a fresh survey of the rim area by the Geological Survey of India has been commissioned. One of the earlier reports by the Geological Survey of India had identified the same area as unstable. Many villages are located in the unstable area and a special mention had been made about three villages, namely KHOLA, KANGSALI AND JALWALGAON in the report. However the process of land acquisition is still continuing in the villages of the unstable area.

 

According to a new estimate made by the Rehabilitation Directorate, around 5291 urban and 9238 rural families would be affected due to construction of Tehri Dam. 3810 rural families have been partially affected by the Dam.

 

In reality, however the number of affected families is much higher. As of now, the number of urban families displaced by the dam has reached 5,500 and the number of rural displaced families is more than 12,000.

 

The State Government has deliberately submitted lower figures of the displaced families in the affidavits filed in the Supreme Court of India this year (2002) while ignoring the actual situation on ground. The Govt. has still not compiled aggregate statistics of the affected people. However, if it is assumed that each urban family has roughly 5 and each rural family consists of 7 members, the total number of affected persons, may in fact, be more than 1 lakh. Even 1605 families of government employees have been categorised as displaced families.

 

Committees and their Recommendations

 

Tehri Dam had been mired by controversies even before it was cleared by the relevant authorities. Though the announcement regarding the construction of the Dam was made as early as 1965, the Planning Commission and Central Water Commission gave their sanction after 7 years, that is, in the year 1972. And in 1976, the project received administrative clearance from the Uttar Pradesh Govt.

 

Though many committees were constituted to evaluate the project from safety and environmental aspects, but as far as rehabilitation of the displaced was concerned, only one committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Hanumantha Rao was constituted in 1996. Although the committee submitted its report in 14 months, the Central Government took 13 months to decide on the recommendations. And when in Dec. 1998, the Central Government ultimately gave its verdict; most of the recommendations were either rejected or only partially accepted. For instance, the Central Government instead of recognising an adult family to be eligible for rehabilitation benefits as recommended by the committee decided to recognise as additional member of the originally displaced family and granted ex-gratia payments and that too with a cutback of 70 per cent in the amount to be paid.

 

 

 

Changes in Policies

 

 The construction and rehabilitation work of Tehri Dam was vested with the then Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department since 1989. Though there was no framework or guidelines in terms of rehabilitation policy, the work was carried out in accordance with various Government Orders (G.O.) issued from time to time. In 1989, a document called Rehabilitation Plan was drawn up but the document only contained information about the estimates of construction of Govt. office buildings in New Tehri  (rehabilitation site of old Tehri Town).

 

Tehri Hydro Development Corporation prepared a document on rehabilitation in 1995. But, by that time the Corporation had started sidelining the guidelines on rehabilitation and G.O.  issued prior to 1989. Rehabilitation work proceeded at a very slow pace. More attention was given to construction activities of the Dam. Priority was given to influential sections in terms of distribution of land, houses and shops rather than the original land and house owners. Even the G.O. specifying employment and allotment of a house to one member of the displaced family was also given a go by. Important changes were made in the provisions of the New Tehri Master Plan.

 

The promises, which were made in the Rehabilitation Policy Document of 1995, were also not fulfilled. The Corporation ignored even the recommendation for creation of Green Belt area as proposed earlier. The Corporation's claim that it had fully accepted the rehabilitation policy enunciated by the Irrigation Department prior to 1989 is also baseless. Even after 15-20 years of land acquisition in Tehri, land ownership rights have not been conferred on the distributed land for the displaced in new Tehri.

 

Even, the Corporation did not properly implement many of the significant recommendations of Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee, which were partially accepted by the Central Government. No action has been taken by the Corporation on the Provisions contained in the Rehabilitation Policy of 1998 that was formulated on the basis of Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee's recommendation. 

 

Land Acquisition Process and Unrealistic Land Distribution Program

 

There are great irregularities in the policy and practice of land acquisition. Land is not being acquired and rehabilitation measures given effect to in accordance with the principle that the land, which would be submerged, first should be rehabilitated first Land acquisition and distribution has been carried out in those villages, which are located at a higher level, rather than those villages, which are located at a lower level. It has been observed that in those villages where people were not influential enough in spite of the fact that these villages would be submerged first.

 

Since there was long gap between the cut off date (1976 in villages) and land acquisition the rates for land was fixed arbitrarily. AD land acquisition is taking place even after 25-26 years of the cut off date there should be rational criteria for determining the rate etc. However, this is not being done. It has been observed that there is as much as ten times variation in fixing land rates for the same kind of land.

 

The displaced people have not been given residential and agricultural land in spite of the fact that there land had been acquired and compensation paid many years earlier. As a result, the land prices shoot up by as 2-3 times in the rehabilitation sites by the date of rehabilitation.

 

After Environmental Clearance of the Dam

 

The Ministry of Forest and Environment had given conditional clearance in July 1990 for the construction of the Tehri Dam. One of the stipulated Conditions specified that a comprehensive study of the standard of the life of the displaced the undertaken.

The Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, was asked to conduct the study related to the standard of the life of the affected people due to the construction of Tehri Dam. The report was not only submitted after an inordinate delay of two years in contravention of the recommendations of Ministry of Forests and Environment it also did not take into account the data of urban areas (particularly Tehri township). As a result, the report was unable to truly reflect the educational and literacy levels, economic self-reliance and alternative sources of income in the region. In a similar vein, a rehabilitation package for the rim area could not be worked out as specified by the Ministry of Forests and Environment. The Working Plan, which was enumerate for the cut off area, is still in the preliminary stage. The full working plan is yet to be accepted. The construction work of two important bridges linking Bhagirathi and Bhilangana Valleys is also at a preliminary stage. While on the other hand, the government and the project authorities have announced that November-December 2002 would close Diversion Tunnels No. 1 and 2. The process rehabilitation and construction of the dam could not take place simultaneously, emphasized as condition for Environment Clearance. It is a travesty of imagination that the two affidavits which have been submitted by the Uttar Pardesh Government and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation state that generation of hydroelectric power would start by March 2003 while rehabilitation process would be completed by June 2003.  

 

 Partial Submergence: Unrealistic Demarcation

 

86 villages would be partially submerged by the Tehri Dam Project. This includes those villages where 70-75 percent of families and land is going to be affected. However, to be eligible for the status of a fully affected village has been determined as 75 percent or more families and land, even those villages where 25-30 families would remain after submergence, have been affected. Although denomination of villages as partially affected has been done on a mathematical formula (wherever the land of 75 percent of the families is involved), no estimates have been prepared to take into account the existence of link roads, grazing places, local markets, civic amenities, 'Ghats' along the banks of the river drains and the disintegration of social life. If the people are deprived of all the amenities in villages where only 25 to 30 percent of the people would be left (in some villages the number is as less as 5-10 families), how are they going to subsist--- this question addressed by the various policies enunciated so far? How are these people be expected to retain their existence and identity as part of the village society?

 

Cut off Area

 

Around 80,000 people are going to be indirectly affected by the construction of the dam. The area is in Pratapnagar Tehsil. This area has been dependent on Tehri Township for various civic amenities. Due to the construction of the dam and the resultant reservoir, 6 bridges (two motorable and four pedestrian) on the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana river would be submerged, thereby completely disrupting the roads connecting the district, block, state and national capital and other areas. As a result, the distance to be traversed between these places would increase by 100 to 150 km.  A large part of the cut off area falls in the rim area of the dam and partially submerged area.

 

The Secret Reports Of Geological Survey of India

 

The idea to construct a big Dam in the unstable and geologically sensitive mid-Himalayan region has been mired by innumerable controversies. The government, on the other hand, claims that the dam design has been prepared keeping in view the geological aspects. Yet many questions arise. What would be the impact of the reservoir on the mountain habitations?

 

The Geological Survey of India has identified as unstable large tracts above the rim area, which may face land slides in future due to the reservoir. Many villages are located in this area. Though

 

the report has been classified as secret, many significant issues highlighted by the report have become public. The Geological Survey of India's report on the construction of New Tehri Township has also been kept secret and its findings have been ignored. Government and project officials are guaranteeing the safety of the dam, whereas similar concerns regarding the safety of habitations have not been expressed so far. Rampant use of explosives for the construction of Tehri Dam has shaken the edifice of nearby villages, which are not even going to be rehabilitated.

 

Tehri-New Tehri

 

New Tehri Township has been created since the original Tehri Township is going to be in the submergence area of the dam. Though originally planned as a modern Township, adequate land could not be acquired as envisaged by the Master Plan. As a result, there is a shortfall of land for the new Township. Huge supporting structures have been created even in the Green Belt area for constructing buildings. This has given rise to not only environmental hazards but also poses danger to life. Although the affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court of India make tall claims regarding the planned construction of New Tehri Township, yet it is full of inconsistencies.  It has been stated in the affidavit that the entire New Tehri township has been laid with underground cable network, the reality is that the system lies in shambles and like many other Townships in the country, New Tehri also exhibits electric wires hanging form poles. The drinking water supply service also lies in shambles. Recently, many of the displaced people who are yet to construct their houses, have demanded that residential plots should be given to them in Dehradun instead of New Tehri. Several people who had been living in Tehri for generations are leaving for Dehradun as they perceive climatic changes in New Tehri.

 

Even after the monsoons, around 350 families are still residing in the township. Though the authorities had sounded the warning that water level would reach 660m above sea level, the maximum water level could touch only 648 m above sea level. Post monsoon, the water level receded to 638m.

 

 

 

 

Also read these publications, published on Tehri Dam: -

 

  1. Punervas ki Asliyat (Hindi & English)

                    By Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties

 

  1. Testimonies from the ground (English)

                    By South Asia Network on Dams, River & People (SANDRP)

 

  1. Fisrt Document-Vade, Dave Oor Sachchainya (Hindi & English)

                    By MATU

 

  1. Second Document-Bolti Khabre/ Ankre (Hindi)

                    By MATU

 

  1. Third Document-Shashnadesh: Pravidhan,Kriyanvayan  (Hindi)

                    By MATU

 


{1}

 

Affected Areas of Tehri Dam Project

 

 

Township-Village — Population Figures of Displaced Families

 

Extensive Displacement

 

 

 


 Fully affected                                                             Partially Affected Villages

Town / village                                                  86 (increase in number possible)

                                                                        5884 Families

                                                                             (increase in number possible)

 

                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                      37+2=39(increase in number possible)

                      3355+400+103= approx 3858 families

                      (Population – 30,000 approx.)

 

 

Township Tehri, 5291 families + 100 families (increase in number possible)

(Population 25000 approximately.)

 


                                                                       

 

 

Fully Affected                                                Partially Affected

2074 families                                                   Ineligible for rehabilitation

Population - 14000 approx.                             3810 families

 (Increase in number possible)               Population - 25000 approx.

                                                                       (Increase in number possible)

 

The Tehri Dam has affected a major chunk of population. Since land acquisition is still continuing, and the findings of the survey of unstable areas is yet to see the light of the day, there is every possibility that number of affected people may register an increase.

 

According to government figures, the number of fully affected families eligible for rehabilitation at a different place is 5291 in urban areas and 5429 in rural areas, which makes a total of 10720 families. Besides, there are 3810 partially affected families who are not eligible for rehabilitation at a different place as only less than 50 per cent of their land and other assets have been acquired.

 

Such families would only receive cash payment as compensation for the acquisition of their land and any other asset.

 

Though comprehensive government data is not available, it is estimated that 70 to 75000 people may be fully affected and approximately 20-25000 would be partially affected. The total number of the affected people would be to the tune of 90000 to 1 lakh.

 

In the rural areas, there are only two categories of displaced families, namely, landowners and landless agricultural labourers. Whereas, in the urban areas there are many other categories made for rehabilitation. Even government employees and organisations have been categorised as displaced families.

 

Categories of Displaced Families

 

Township

Villages

1

Land Owners

1766

1

Farmers with Land

2

Tenants

442

2

Landless Agricultural Laborers

3

Benap

384

 

 

4

Employees

1605

 

 

5

Organisations

653

 

 

6

House on Fathers' Land

140

 

 

7

Three villages displaced

by New Tehri

269

 

 

8

Others

32

 

 

 

·         100 flats have been constructed in Tehri township to be distributed free of cost to the displaced families belonging to the weaker sections. These 100 families (their numbers may increase) have not been included in the list of 5291 urban displaced families.

 

·         The survey is premised upon the assumption that each urban family has 5 members and each rural family consists of 7 members.

 

The number of rural displaced families is much higher than the data provided by governmental agencies.

 

The list of 5429 rural displaced families does not include those 400 families who had sold their landed property after 1978 and were categorised as ineligible for availing rehabilitation benefits. The Central Government has now given sanction for the release of funds for rehabilitation of such families. Consequently, the number of fully affected families requiring rehabilitation has reached 5429400. 100 families belonging to the Koteshwar Dam Unit are yet to be rehabilitated. These 100 families have also not been included in the list of fully affected families. As a result, the total number of fully affected families may increase to 5829100.

 

Three villages belonging to the rim area and threatened by massive landslides also require rehabilitation. That means another 7000 rural displaced families would come under the ambit of rehabilitation. Since the land acquisition process is still continuing in several villages, it is not possible to give an exact estimate of the number of affected families. A definitive picture can emerge only when the last village in the long line is rehabilitated.

 

In fact, in the urban areas, particularly Tehri Township, the number of displaced families is increasing day by day. A host of displaced families belonging to the tenant and weaker sections had been identified in July-August of 2002. Consequently, the numbers as enumerated in the government list (5291) may cross 5400 families requiring rehabilitation.


{2}

 

Safety - Environment - Rehabilitation

Recommendations of Various Committees

 

1965    -           K. L. Rao, the then Minister of Irrigation, announced the construction of the dam at Tehri.

 

1967    -           Indian and foreign experts surveyed the site of the dam.

 

1969    -           Final shape given to the project report.

 

1979    -           A post of Chief Engineer for the Project created.

 

1972    -           The Tehri Dam Project was cleared by the Water Commission and the Planning Commission

 

1976    -           The project received the administrative sanction of the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

 

1979    -           A Task Force was constituted to examine the impact on the environment by the project.

 

Feb. 1980  -     S. K. Ray was appointed to head the Task Force.

 

May 1980 -      The Task Force submitted its Interim Report to the government. The report mentioned that there was a dearth of requisite scientific facts to carry out a proper study.

 

1981    -           Wadia Institute of Himalayan Technology was asked to study the reservoir area of the dam and the mountain slopes surrounding the reservoir. At that time, Prof. S. P. Nautiyal was the Director of the Institute.

 

1983    -           Wadia Institute submitted its report to the S. K. Rai Committee. The report pointed to the dangers involved in case proper surveys were not conducted.

 

1985    -           S. K. Rai protests against the construction of the dam

 

26 October,

1986    -           The Task Force submitted its Final Report to the government pointing out that the construction of the dam was a dangerous proposition.

 

1986    -           India signs an agreement with U.S.S.R. for assistance in the construction of the Tehri Dam during Gorbachov's visit.

 

1988    -           To carry out the project work, Tehri Water Development Corporation was set up as a joint venture of the Union and State governments.

 

1990    -           Rehabilitation work was also handed over to the Corporation.

 

March

1990    -           Constitution of a Standing Committee on Environmental Impact Assessment.

                        Dr. D. R. Bhumbla Committee prepared its report and recommended that permission should not be granted for the construction of the dam as it poses environmental hazards.

 

19 July,

1990    -           Despite widespread apprehensions, the project was given clearance by the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Government of India. Two members of the Bhumbla Committee, Dr. Shekhar Singh and Dr. Subrata Sinha resigned in protest stating that if the recommendations of such an important Committee does not find favour with the Government, there is no need to continue in the Committee.

                       

1990   -             A high level Expert Committee known as Dr. Dodiyal Committee was set up.

                        Dr. Dodiyal Committee favoured the construction of the dam. However, one of the members Dr. Vinod Gaur dissented and questioned the design of the Tehri Dam.

 

1986    -           The Comptroller and Auditor General of India termed the project as financially disadvantageous.

 

1985-86 and

1986-87 -         The Geological Survey of India's report on New Tehri completed. The report identified unstable areas and stated that buildings should not be constructed in such areas. It emphasised that Green Belt be developed expeditiously.

 

1990    -           The Geological Survey of India conducted a study on the stability of the Rim Area above the reservoir. Certain areas were identified which could cave into the reservoir once it is filled with water. Khola, Kangsali and Jalwalgaon villages are situated in this area.

 

August

1996    -           A five member Expert Committee was constituted to study the project from safety angle.

 

September,

1996    -           A twelve member Expert Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Hanumantha Rao was constituted to study the environmental and rehabilitation aspects of the project.

 

November,

1997    -           Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee submits its report to the Central Government

 

February,

1998    -           The five members Expert Committee to study the safety aspects of the project submits its report to the Central Government. The Committee was divided in its recommendations in the ratio of 4:1.

 

December,

1998    -           The Central Government takes decision on the Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee report. Committee recommendations were accepted only partially.

 

 

February,

1999    -           The Central Government takes decision on the Group of Experts Committee report. The Government accepted the recommendation regarding safety of the dam design, but it rejected two other recommendations.

 

2001    -           A Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi to study the safety of the dam and the importance of Ganges water in the aftermath of Bhuj earthquake.

 

December,

2001    -           Diversion Tunnels T3 and T4 of the dam closed down. Dr. Joshi Committee is yet to submit its report.


{3}

Rehabilitation Policies

 

--The Sardar Sarovar Dam being constructed on Narmada river claims that it would award 5 acres of irrigated land to all the displaced families and would rehabilitate all the affected villages with full civic amenities.

 

--Even the National Rehabilitation Policy Draft Proposal recommended that displaced families should be provided 2 and a half acres of land.

 

--Why this hiatus between the displaced of Sardar Sarovar Dam and the displaced of Tehri Dam? While both the projects are being implemented in the garb of so called national interest.

 

Ψ      Till 1989, rehabilitation projects/programmes were under the jurisdiction of Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department.

 

Ψ      From 1989 to 1998, the rehabilitation projects/programmes were under the jurisdiction of T.H.D.C.

 

Ψ      The Third Phase comprises of recommendations made by Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee in 1998.

 

First Phase: 1989

 

To give an impetus to the significant policy provisions, a joint venture was set up for construction of houses and other buildings and for effective implementation of rehabilitation measures in 1989-1990. Prior to this, U.P. Irrigation Department had been authorised to undertake building and rehabilitation work in the state.

 

Before 1989, rehabilitation projects were directed and coordinated by Government Orders. The state had a duly constituted Rehabilitation Directorate headed by an I.A.S. officer.

 

The rehabilitation related provisions before 1989 are as follows.

 

1.      Government order (GO) No. 45514-61201 Clause 2: Immediate rehabilitation programmes to be launched.

 

2.      G.O. No. 45514-61201 Admn. Clause 2: Government employment for at least one member of the displaced family.

 

3.      G.O. No. 1856-RCB/17AM/80: Distribution of land equivalent to or more than the acquired land.

 

4.      Various provisions for New Tehri Master Plan (1985-2005): 30 percent for construction of buildings and 30 per cent for green belt etc.

 

5.      G.O. No. 540 CA / 79-23 / C 3-18AM / 78: Priority to be given to land owners in terms of shop and house allocations.

 

6.      G.O. No. 3105 CB / M / 79 C-3-23 119M / 79: To provide construction materials at concessional rates.

 

 

 

7.      G.O. No. 1856 RCB / 17 / 111 / 800: To provide 400 sq.m. of land for the urban displaced families in the New Tehri township.

 

8.      G.O. No. 45514-61201-73, clause 2, Dt.  20-12-1973: Displaced persons to be given land free of cost and the Tehri Project authorities to be made responsible for constructing houses at the project cost.

 

9.      G.O.No. 2366 AD/ 78-23 C-3/12-AM-78, Lucknow, Dt.30 May 1978: 2 acres of land for the displaced belonging to rural areas.

 

Prior to 1989, the provisions outlined in the various Government Orders were not implemented. Lack of adequate land for the displaced for rehabilitation, budgetary constraints and administrative apathy towards implementation of policies led to inordinate delays. Construction of the dam and rehabilitation work could not keep pace with each other.

 

The G.O. stipulating employment for one member of the displaced families was withdrawn as early as 1998. One member from only 5 per cent of the displaced families was given government employment in the Tehri Project between 1973 and 1998. In fact, a larger number who were given government employment were non-displaced persons.

 

About 7 per cent of the urban displaced families were allocated 300 sq.m. of residential plots. Rest of them were given less land, though the Government Order stipulated that they would be given residential plots amounting to 400 sq.m.

 

Important Provisions of New Tehri Master Plan:

 

The provision regarding 30 per cent for construction of buildings and 33 per cent allocation for Green Belt was completely ignored. So far, buildings have been constructed on 70 per cent of the land. Green Belt has not been developed as yet. In the areas earmarked for Green Belt, buildings have been constructed and plots have been developed.

 

G.O. stipulating that priority be given to land owners for allocation of land, buildings and shops was not implemented properly. Traders, tenants and members of the bureaucracy were able to corner benefits at the cost of original landowners.

 

No provision was made to supply building construction materials at concessional rates in New Tehri. Provision regarding development of plots and houses from the project costs was turned upside down, and as a result, compensation was paid first and only then the cost of the distributed land was determined. After 1998, initially, assistance for building construction was fixed at a minimum of Rs 60000, which was subsequently raised to Rs. 2.5 lakh.

 

In this manner, the significant provisions of the 70s were drastically changed in the 80s after the formation of the Corporation. In Tehri, land acquisition had taken place prior to the first phase of 1989.

 

Second Phase — From 1989 to 1998

 

In the Second Phase, the rehabilitation of Tehri Dam displaced people was carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Rehabilitation Policy Document of 1995. The important provisions of the Document are as follows:

 

1.    Adoption of the entire policies of the State Government by the Corporation.

2.    Consultation with the displaced or their representatives for selecting rehabilitation centers.

3.    Rehabilitation of the displaced to be carried out prior to submergence of the lands of the affected.

4.    The ownership for the distributed land to be given during the declaration of the award.

5.    Landowners possessing Unmeasured (Benap) Land to be allocated land measuring 100 sq.m. or a flat.

6.    Priority to be given in terms of employment for displaced families.

7.    50 per cent of the amount to be paid by the Project for housing and construction loans and interest thereof.

8.    Allocation of one room tenement in return for compensation amounting to a maximum of Rs. 40000

9.    Tehri Hydro Development Corporation to extend housing loans to a maximum of Rs. 1 lakh at an interest rate of 8 per cent.

10. In lieu of land, cash compensation as rehabilitation aid to be given to the displaced persons by the Corporation.

11.Setting up of a depot in New Tehri for supply of construction materials at concessional rates.

 

The Corporation could not implement these provisions in entirety. Though the Policy Document of the Corporation in 1995 professed to follow the policies enunciated by the State Government, the Corporation paid no attention to these provisions.

 

Even the policy of consultations with the displaced or their representatives was not followed. In spite of the fact that land in Pathri Ro in Haridwar was repeatedly rejected by the displaced persons, yet this land was given priority for distribution. In reality, to hoodwink the displaced people, the authorities tried to change the name of the area and numerous complaints were made. It has taken more than a decade for the authorities to confer land ownership and revenue rights to the displaced people. For the last 10-15 years displaced people have not been conferred land ownership rights in New Tehri and other rehabilitation centers.

 

The provisions for extending housing loans for construction purposes by financial institutions/banks and Corporation were not implemented. Banks and financial institutions could not extend housing loans in the absence of revenue rights on land. On the other hand, 'benap' land and house owners, given their clout were able to corner 300 sq. m. land, though they were legally entitled to only 700 sq. m.

 

During all the phases of submergence of land, the project authorities were neither able to provide rehabilitation measures to the affected displaced people nor could they implement the provision which stipulated that priority be given to the displaced persons in terms of employment. In December 2001, when Tunnels 3 and 4 were closed, the height of the dam stood at 180m. That implies that in spite of the construction of the dam to a height of 760m above sea level, around 800 families were residing at a height of 645-700 m above sea level. At that time, 500 families were agitating since people holding land were not provided with a rehabilitation package. Hundreds of village families neither received compensation for land and houses nor did they get agricultural or residential plots.

 

In fact, the State Government had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court of India in February 2000, stating that the reservoir would be filled to a height of 706 m above sea level during the monsoon of 2000. Since monsoon was weak in nature, the water could reach only to a height of 648m above sea level. Otherwise, it would have resulted in widespread loss of men and material and many families would have been rendered homeless due to inadequate rehabilitation measures.

 

 

 

 

 

Third Phase - Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee's Recommendations After 1998

 

The Central Government had constituted Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee in 1996 to study the environmental and rehabilitation aspects of the project. The Committee submitted its report in 1997 to the Central Government which was able to take a decision on its recommendations only by December 1998. The Central Government accepted most of the recommendations partially and turned a blind eye to many others. However, the Rehabilitation Policy Document 1998 was prepared only after the government's decision on the recommendations.

 

Some of the important provisions of this document which were not implemented or implemented only partially are as follows:

 

1.      Advance payment — A fund of Rs 2 crore.

2.      Families of adult citizens — Grant-in-aid.

3.      Grant-in-aid and land distribution in a joint account to be run by both husband and wife.

4.      Provision of free drinking water at the rehabilitation sites.

5.      Provision of electricity at concessional rates in the rehabilitation sites.

6.      Assistance for construction of buildings.

7.      Provision of shops for the existing owners of shops.

8.      Setting up of depots in the rehabilitation sites to provide building materials at concessional rates.

9.      Income generation schemes for the displaced people.

10.  Establishment of a Public Grievances Cell.

 

·         For advance payments, no fund was created either by the Corporation or the Directorate of Rehabilitation.

 

·         Distribution of land and the payment of grant-in-aid under joint ownership of husband and wife was not implemented. Only those cases, where petitions were made to the higher authorities, the payment was routed through a joint account.

 

·         The age of the adult families was increased from 18 to 21 years and instead of a compensation of Rs. 1.5 lakh as mooted earlier, the Central Government paid only a meager amount of Rs. 43000.

 

·         A policy for providing electricity at concessional rates has not been devised so far. This work has to be carried out by the State Government. For construction of houses, about 500 urban families who had taken cash payment in lieu of their residential plots have been denied financial assistance. The process of distribution of shops to the shopkeepers has not yet begun. Similarly, no depot has been established for providing construction materials at neither concessional rates nor any income generation schemes has been launched so far. For these schemes, the Corporation was supposed to make arrangements for raising funds.

 

·         Even Grievance Cell was not constituted. The Corporation claims that it had organised camps for hearing peoples' complaints, but the irony is that the same department / officials against whom complaints have been made are conducting these camps. This is in complete violation of natural justice.

 

Similarly, important provisions outlined in the Rehabilitation Document in favor of the displaced, were either not implemented or partially implemented. Due to procedural complexities and long drawn out nature of adjudication process, many of the important provisions outlined in the Rehabilitation Policy Document have been rendered null and void. For instance, setting up of depots for providing construction materials at concessional rates and launching of income generation schemes fall in the same category.

 

Rehabilitation work was again transferred from T H D C to the Uttar Pradesh Government on 9-12-1998. And in 2001 the rehabilitation work was transferred to the newly constituted Uttaranchal Government. However, no change took place in the work culture or policies.


{4}

 Land: Games Being Played

Impractical Approach Towards Land Acquisition and Distribution

 

According to the general tenets of land acquisition, the process should begin with those areas (township or village) which have been affected first. In the context of submergence due to dam construction, land acquisition should be in consonance with the level of water entering the reservoir. Though the government has claimed that these tenets have been followed, the reality has been that they have been sidetracked.

 

Although entire Tehri township is in the submergence area in the first phase, the land acquisition process for only 150 acres of land continued for 7 years. First, land acquisition work under Section 4 started from Ward No. 1 Dobata, Old Bus Terminal area on 11-4-1981 whereas the process started as late as 1-10-1988 in Ward No. 10. The inordinate delay in land acquisition has led to lowering of land prices in the Tehri Township. 1117 families belonging to Ward Numbers 1 to 6 were given only Rs 5 square feet as compensation whereas 649 families were sanctioned Rs. 30 per square feet. Such difference in the mode of assessment and payment is highly inconsistent, notwithstanding the time interval. All those families who were granted Rs. 5 per square meter as compensation moved the appropriate court and the courts decided in their favor. Unable to find their bearings on the face of judicial pronouncements on the issue, the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation and the State Government have filed appeal petitions in the Supreme Court of India for reversing the subordinate courts' judgments.

 

The displaced families were supposed to be granted land-ownership rights in the rehabilitated areas as soon as their land was acquired.

 

However, even after 10 years of land acquisition of the displaced people of Tehri, it took another 10 years for distribution of land to the displaced people in the rehabilitation sites in New Tehri Township and Ajabpur Kala. Land ownership rights are yet to be conferred on these people. In this manner, 1766 landowning families have been deprived of landownership rights for the last 14 to 21 years thereby making them ineligible not only for benefiting from governmental welfare schemes, but also to take recourse to legal provisions.

 

In the rural context, the process of land acquisition has been even more lackadaisical. If we examine the case of 7 out of 9 villages which are going to be submerged after land acquisition process is initiated and their location in terms of height above sea level, the stark reality stares on your face.

 

S. No.

Name of the Village

Height From Sea Level

Date of Promulgation of

Section - 4

1

Badcot

695-930

24-04-1998

2

Chajsaud

720-720

16-02-1996

3

Malidewal

726-756

31-03-1991

4

Bilyasaud

731-755

07-03-1991

5

Dewal

753-885

03-12-2001

6

Biryani

775-843

28-01-1999

7

Jogiyada (Uttarkashi)

789-806

2002

 

 

It is clear form the Table that submergence would occur in Badkot, Chaksaud, Malidewal, Bilyasaud, Dewal, Biryani and Jogiyada villages respectively whereas land acquisition work was started in Bilyasaud, Chaksaud, Badkot, Malidewal, Dewal, Biryani and Jogiyada villages in that order.

 

 

In the first phase, land was acquired in Godi Siranyi and in the second phase, land was acquired in those villages which would be fully or partially submerged. Later, Section 4 was promulgated on 11-4-2000. This village is situated at a height of 684-1098m above sea level.

 

In those villages, which would be partially submerged, the process of land acquisition has not begun. Local sources reported that only those villagers who took pains and visited government offices could get Section 4 implemented in their villages. In those villages where the displaced people were not active, Section 4 is being implemented now despite the fact that these villages would be submerged earlier.

 

The following table would reveal the lack of a pragmatic policy in terms of land acquisition and submergence of those villages, which would be partially submerged:

 

S. No.

Name of the Village

Height From the Sea level

Date of Promulgation of Section - 4

1.

Raulakot

666-899

9-10-98

2.

Syansu

766-870

30-9-2000

3.

Maigan

768-1076

6-1-2000

4.

Nandgaon

768-904

1-7-2000

5.

Bhaldiana

774-875

9-6-99

6.

Patagli

783-1265

22-8-2001

7

Saud Uppu

877-1026

20-12-95

8.

Mayonda

877-1040

20-12-95

9.

Chopra

990-1040

6-8-98

 

The Table makes it clear that villages that would be submerged are Raulakot, Syansu, Maigan, Nandgaon, Bhaldiana, Patagli, Bandarakoti, Saud Uppu, Myonda and Chopra in that order whereas land acquisition was started in Saud Uppu, Myonda, Bandarakoti, Chopra, Raulakot, Maigan, Nandgoon, Syansu and Patagali villages respectively.

 

Lack of a pragmatic policy of land acquisition is adversely affecting the work of land distribution and rehabilitation whereas this should have been done in the order of submergence. The above Table belies the government's claim that it is following an orderly policy.

 

The same situation prevails in the case of land distribution. In the villages where land was acquired before and compensation was paid, the authorities did not find it necessary to distribute land among those who were displaced before. In such a scenario, the greatest disadvantage faced by the people is that when land is distributed for agricultural and residential purposes many years after the payment of compensation, the cost of constructing houses registers a manifold increase, besides people tend to spend a part of compensation received earlier as it happened in Tehri township.

 

In the second phase, Badkot and Biryani villages which are in full submergence area, land was acquired and compensation was paid many years earlier but the process of land distribution for agricultural and residential purposes was only initiated in mid-2000. In the villages, which would be partially submerged, land was acquired a few years earlier, but the process of land distribution in the rehabilitated areas has not even begun. In such a situation, the displaced are deprived of ownership rights of land for several years and as a consequence they are unable to benefit from welfare policies like availing of loans and licenses for commercial purposes.


{5}

Environmental Clearance

 

Although the Planning Commission had cleared the Tehri Dam Project in 1972, the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Government of India had cleared the project as late as 1990 and even that with certain conditions.

 

In the letter of conditional sanction, the Ministry of Forests and Environment had placed three important conditions. First, the safety aspects of the dam design should be cleared by a high level experts committee; second, a study of the catchment area, survey of rehabilitation requirements, development of command area, study of the flora and fauna of the region, conservation of water quality, disaster management and setting up of Bhagirathi Valley Basin Authority — all these should be in consonance with environmental management plan; third, these conditions have to be implemented simultaneously with surveys and studies in accordance with the provisions of Environmental Conservation Act, 1986.

 

Para 3.2 of the Letter of Conditional Sanction defined rehabilitation related conditions as follows:

 

The THDC will, through a reputed institution, undertake a socio-economic study of the measures needed to ensure that the standard of living of the oustees is not affected due to the project. The study will be completed by 30.6.1991. The THDC will implement such recommendations as may be made by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for rehabilitation after consideration of the study report by the MEF. The rehabilitation package covering population affecting Koteshwar dam as well as those living on the rim of the reservoir and likely to be affected will be prepared before 31.3.1991.

 

To comply with the conditions, the Tehri Water Development Corporation requested the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad to conduct a socio-economic survey. However, the study could not be completed by 31 June 1991 in accordance with the conditions but took as long as March 1993.

 

The same rehabilitation package followed for the displaced families of Tehri Dam should be applicable for the displaced families of Koteshwar Dam. In Koteshwar, the process of land acquisition was started recently, but not a single displaced family has been rehabilitated.

 

The rehabilitation package for the affected people in the rim area of the reservoir, which should have been ready by 31 March 1991, is still in limbo. Three villages in the rim area of the reservoir, namely, Khola, Jalwalgaon and Kangsali, which had been identified as falling in the landslide area by the Geological Survey of India, have still not been rehabilitated. This is in spite of the fact that a fresh geological survey was conducted in the rim area in the month of July 2002.

 

Many villages in the rim area are in the partially affected category. Since Tehri Township was cut off from all civic amenities due to the construction of the dam, a programme was devised in the year 2002 to reestablish these amenities. However, the proposed package of Rs. 180 crore has not yet been sanctioned. Construction work on two bridges for linking the other side of the rim area with the Block and District headquarters is preliminary stage. It may take 2 to 3 years for their construction, which suggests that the authorities are indifferent towards the entire rim area in spite of the fact that the Conditional Sanction Letter had emphasised expeditious development of the rim area.

 

When the environmental clearance was given, there was a condition that all the studies, preparation of work plans and the engineering work in the construction of the dam should proceed simultaneously.

 

All this comes under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 which is being violated with impunity.

 

 

 

 

CURRENT STATUS (22-01-2002) OF CONDITIONS OF CLEARANCE FOR THE ENIRONMENT

 

 

Activity

Prescribed date of completion

Actual date of completion

Whether completed by approved date

Setting up Bhagirathi Basin Management authority on a statutory basis thought legislative action

31.3.1991

(12/1993)

Now set up only on paper

No

 

The letter from MOEF No. 2-19/81-HCT/lA-1 dated 17.1.2000 states that all these plans have been submitted by THDC and are under examination at various levels. Once the examination is completed if any modification of the plans are required, it has to be done by THDC.’’

 

 

Management

Plans/Action

Plans

Prescribed Date of Submission

Actual date of Submission

Whether Got Approvel From MOEF

Whether implemented as per conditions

Catchments Area Treatment

31-12-90

January, 1994

Under

consideration on 17-1-2000 as per MOEF

Letter No 2-19/81- HCT/1A-1

Plan not yet approved by MOEF. Not fully implemented as per conditions as it was not completed by

31-12-1995, as stipulated by the MOEF in its letter of clearance. Also, thoughts 29,000 ha have been treated only till today, only directly draining areas are being treated.

Command Area Development

31-3-91

(31-12-93)*

Submitted date not

know but after the prescribed date

As above

Not relevant, as the plan has still not been approved by MOEF.

Flora

May 1991

July, 1993

As above

Not relevant, as the plan has still not been approved by MOEF.

Fauna

May 1991

March, 1993

As above

Not relevant, as the plan has  still not been approved by MOEF.

Water Quality Maintenance

No date specified

November, 1992

As above

Not relevant, as the plan has still not been approved by MOEF.

Disaster Management

31-3-91

Not know, when submitted-but not within the stipulated date.

As above

Not relevant as the plan has still not been approved by MOEF.

 

 

 

 

{6}

 

 

Who Will Be Submerged?

With the Dam: After the Construction of the Dam

 

 

Fully Affected Villages                         - Where 75 percent or more families

                                                            have been affected.

 

Fully Affected Family                           - Whose 50 per cent or more land

                                                            Is being acquired.

 

Criteria for Measurement                    - Irrigated, Unirrigated (First Grade)

Of Land                                               and (Second Grade) in the ratio of

                                                            1:1:5:3 meaning thereby that one 'Nali'

                                                            of irrigated land is equivalent to 1½ 'Nalis'

                                                            of First Grade Unirrigated land or 3 'Nalis'

                                                            of Second Grade Unirrigated Land.

 

 

Besides Tehri Township, 39 fully affected villages and 86 partially affected villages have been included in the list of affected areas of Tehri Dam.

 

The criteria for determining fully affected and partially affected villages are unrealistic. Certain other important factors have not been taken into account. Had these factors been taken into consideration, the number of fully affected villages would have increased.

 

If a family's one 'Nali' irrigated land has been submerged and 2 'Nalis' of First Grade unirrigated land is not submerged, then it will be assumed that 50 per cent of the family's land is under submergence. In this context, it must be mentioned that entire irrigated land in the partially affected villages would be under submergence, since these lands are in the lower plains of the valley.

 

But to determine fully affected and partially affected villages only on the level of submergence of land is both unrealistic and illogical. Because, in those villages where half or less then half of the land has been acquired, it is forgotten that these villages have other features like link roads, grazing lands, fuel and fodder forests, local markets, civic amenities like roads, schools, sources of water, 'Ghats' on the banks of the river and cremation grounds — all would be devastated. Therefore, it is pertinent to ask, how these partially affected villages are going to build their infrastructure, which is a prerequisite for existence? This aspect has been completely ignored. It is doubtful whether the government would be able to provide all these amenities even to the rest of the families (10,15 or 20) residing in the partially affected villages. Gram Sabhas (Village Councils) would be done away with or integrated with other 'Gram Sabhas'. People living for generations and sharing their joys and sorrows, even close relatives would be separated and forced to live in places like Pathri (Haridwar) located at a distance of 150 kms.

 

Even if the government does not show any human concern, the fact remains that how the rest of the families who would be left in the partially affected villages cope with their to day existence after they have been deprived of living amenities like grazing land, source of water, fuel and fodder forests and all the link roads connecting them with the outside world. In some of the partially affected villages, major portion of agricultural land would be submerged and only residential premises would be left. They will of course receive compensation for land, but they would not be able to buy agricultural land in other areas and even if they were able to do so, it would be well nigh impossible to look after them.

 

Chham village of Bhagirathi Valley has been declared partially affected. According to the records of the Rehabilitation Directorate, 40 out of 56 families have to be rehabilitated which is about 70 per cent of the population of the village. The entire irrigated area of the village would be under submergence. 155 acres of land is being acquired in the village, which is highest in the 86 partially affected villages. In such a big village, only 16 families have been left out to fend for themselves and have not been made eligible for rehabilitation. 90 per cent of the village land falls below the pillar of the Tehri Dam showing 835 m submergence.

 

Similarly, Bhaldiana village in the valley, 130 out of 175 families would be rehabilitated which is 74.3 per cent of the village population. In such a big village, only 40 families would be left. Most of the residential premises are in the submergence area.

 

In Bandrakoti village, 210 out of 296 families have been found to be eligible for rehabilitation. Only 86 families would be left in the village. Most of the residential premises are in the submergence area.

 

In Khand Dharmandal village of Bhilangana Valley, 250 out of 289 families have been found to be eligible for rehabilitation, which is 86 per cent of the village population. Though more than 75 per cent of the land falls in the submergence area, the village has been categorised as partially affected. Most of the village land, around 172 acres, is in the submergence area.

 

The same situation prevails in Khand Bidkot, Syansu, Doban, Bhaldgaon, Baldogi, Kumrada and other villages.

 

Syansu village is extremely close to the reservoir. In many of the partially affected villages near and at a higher level than the reservoir, there is every danger of landslides and domestic animals skidding into the reservoir. The fluctuating level of the reservoir is also a cause for concern. The grazing lands of several villages are at a lower level than the village and on the banks of the river. Once they are submerged, there would be a crisis of fodder. Link roads connecting the villages also pass through this area. Kangsali village exemplifies this factor. A study should be conducted which takes into consideration all the above mentioned factors as there is an urgent need to include more villages in the list of fully affected villages.

 

Partially Affected Villages Adjacent to the Reservoir

 

S. No.      Name of the Village              Maximum            Maximum Height

                                                                 Height                 of the Village from

                                                                                             The Reservoir in meters

 


1               Chham                                    847m                   12

2               Bandrakoti                               844m                   9

3               Khand Bidkot                           841m                   6

4               Ghonti Dungmandar               850m                   15

5               Bhaldiyana                              875m                   40

6               Maneti Sera                             852m                   17

7               Syansu                                    870m                   35

8               Nayari Uttarkashi                     865m                   30


{7}

The Cut off Area

 Indirectly Affected Areas of the Dam

 

The cut off area of Tehri dam is that area which would not get submerged, yet the area would be cut off due to the construction of the dam. This is the area which has been dependent on Tehri township for various civic amenities. Besides, when the six bridges (2 motorable and 4 for pedestrians) on Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers get submerged, the distance to be traversed for reaching district, block and state capitals and other areas is expected to increase by 100-150 kms.

 

The cut off area is inhabited by 50,000 people and includes the entire Pratapnagar Tehsil, particularly Raika and Dharmandal tracts. A part of Ghansali district is also being affected in this manner. The average distance from Tehri was 15 kms. prior to the construction of the dam. But when all the bridges are submerged, the average distance from New Tehri would increase by 150 Kms. The authorities paid attention to the problems of the area belatedly. A large part of the cut off area falls in the rim and partially affected areas of the dam. There seems to be no clear-cut rehabilitation policy for the cut off and rim areas if one examines the policy documents pertaining to rehabilitation.

 

The conditional sanction grated to the dam by the Ministry of Forests and Environment (July, 1990 No-3.2) specified that a rehabilitation package for the inhabitants of the rim area should be chalked out by 31 March 1992. The Geological Survey of India in its report had identified large parts of rim area as unstable in 1990 and had opined that an extensive survey of this area should be conducted. After 12 years, this extensive survey had been conducted in July this year and the report is yet to be submitted

 

There was a flurry of activity three years ago in the villages belonging to the cut off area when the schools and the government offices responsible for maintaining civic amenities started shifting to New Tehri. When the people started agitating,  the then District Magistrate convened a meeting of the district authorities to prepare a plan for the cut off area. On the basis of this plan the State Government prepared a specific plan for the cut off area with an outlay of Rs. 183 crore for various projects and sent it to the Central Government.

 

Some amount of funds from this plan has already been disbursed. These projects are at a preliminary stage, but the irony is that the process of filling of the reservoir due to the closure of Diversion Tunnels No, T-3 and T-4 had already started in December 2001. The project authorities are planning to close Diversion Tunnels No. T-1 and T-2 by November 2002.

 

But there is a strong current of resentment among the people belonging to the cut off area since no amenities have been provided and the two bridges linking the area with the outside world (one on Bhagirathi river near Syansu village and the other on Bhilangana river near Pipaldali village) have not been built so far.

 

The plan prepared for the cut off area was as follows:

 

1. Construction of two bridges for facilitating traffic flow.

2. Education: 4 Degree colleges, 4 Inter colleges, 2 new and 2 old, setting up of 3 I.T.Is (Industrial Training Institutes).

4. Setting up of 3 hospitals and upgradation of one.

5. Construction of 2 new electric sub-centers and setting up of one electric power sub-division.

6. Setting up an office of the Forest Department manned by a Forest Officer.

7. Creation of a new development block by dividing the Bhilangana Block Development Office into two parts.

 

8. Opening of 3 branches of bank.

9. Setting up 3 new gas depots and shifting of one depot.

10. Construction of 3 petrol pumps.

11. Construction of 5-timber godowns.

12. Shifting of post office branches.

13. Shifting of Public Works Department office, Water Corporation office, primary school, godown of Food Corporation of India, Veterinary Hospital, the office of Soil Conservator to suitable places.

14. For all purposes, construction of houses at the project costs.

 

While the plan for the cut off area was being prepared, it was felt that there is a need to provide the basic amenities within a span of one and a half years. However, the process of approval took so long that work could begin on the plan only after one and a half years and almost half of the projects still await approval.

 

The envisaged Tehri Uttarkashi motorable road up to 30-35 Km. from Tehri is in the submergence area. Its construction has been quite tardy and slow. If the Diversion Tunnels T-1 and T-2 are closed by November as stated in the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court of India, the water level may touch 770m which would endanger the Tehri-Uttarkashi-Gangotri Highway. Much of the highway between Tehri and Chham village (situated at a distance of 25Km.) is located below 770m, which is going to be submerged. The highway even passes at a height of 700m above sea level in certain places. Since the road laying process is yet to be completed on this highway, it is unfit for traffic. The motorable road stretches as far as 72 kms, and whatever road laying has taken place is at a preliminary stage. The road is yet to be fully macadamised. As long as traffic does not start on the Chamba-Dharasu motorable road, the pilgrims going to Gangotri and subsequently heading for Kedarnath, Badrinath would have to go via Badkot, Vikasnagar, Mussorie, Dehradun or Rishikesh to reach Srinagar instead of the earlier direct 130Km route which they could take via Uttarkashi Tehri to Srinagar- a long journey indeed!

 

And the added distance would be 300 Km. It is amazing that no attention was paid to this fact while closing Diversion Tunnels No T-3 and T-4 in December last year. Not only pilgrims and tourists, even a common person commuting between lower and higher Uttarkashi would face tremendous hardships.

 

{8}

Some Important Address

Shri Himanshu Thakkar

South Asia Network on Dams, River & People (SANDRP)

C/o53 B/A, D. Block Shalimar Bagh, Delhi – 110088

Ph. 91 11 7479916     Email: cwaterp@vsnl.com

 

Shri Hem Garoula, State Sec. PUCL

Ph. 91 0135-626319, 724648

 

Tehri Hydro Development Corporation, Bhagirathi Bhwan, Bhagirathipuram,

Tehri Garwal 249001 Uttaranchal

Ph.91 01376-36253 Fax: 01376-36363 Website: http:thdc.nic.in

 

Dr. Umakant Panwar

Director Rehabilitaion, Tehri Garwal 249001 Uttaranchal

Ph.91 01376-32057 (off) Fax: 01376-32057 / Ph. 01376-32040(R)

Camp Office, Dehradoon Ph: 0135-658270, Fax: 0135-655308 / 0135-625454(R)

 

Shri Narendra Singh

Superseding Engineer (Rehab.), Tehri Garwal 249001 Uttaranchal

Ph: 91 01376-32026 Fax: 01376-32057 / 01376-32136(R)

Camp Office, Dehradoon Ph: 0135-658035, 658270 Fax: 0135-655308  / 0135-626049(R)


{9}

 

Why Secrecy and From Whom?

Secret Reports of Geological Survey of India

 

In the context of Tehri Dam Project, is national interest contradictory to public good?

 

One of the major factors relating to the controversies generated by Tehri Dam pertains to the unstable nature of geological formation of the area. Since the dam is located in the seismic Zone-4 area, questions have been raised regarding the stability of the mountains surrounding the reservoir.

 

Unstable land mass in the mountains not only poses danger to the community but is also an integral part of environmental and rehabilitation concerns. People reside on the mountains surrounding the reservoir. In fact, after the reservoir is filled with water the sloping land mass of the mountains may cave in due to soil erosion. Besides, due to haphazard mining activities and construction of multi-storied buildings, the stability of the entire region is threatened and questions have been repeatedly asked about the viability of the project.

 

Successive governments have classified as secret all such reports that have questioned the viability of the project. From the New Tehri Project Report, S. K. Rai Task Force Report to the Geological Survey of India Report on the mountain inclines in the New Tehri region — all have been kept under wraps. However, information garnered from various sources throw light on some of the significant observations made by these reports. The evidence gathered from these secret reports suggests that the successive governments' endeavour to suppress information in the name of national interest may result in widespread devastation in the near future. It may be pertinently asked whether national interest and public good are in irresoluble conflict in the context of the construction of the Tehri Dam?                         

 

Geological Survey of India's Report on the Rim Area

 

A specially constituted team of the Geological Survey of India visited the area in 1990 to study the mountain inclines above the Rim Area. After preliminary survey of the Rim Area leading towards Pratapnagar, the team was of the opinion that wider studies have to be conducted.

 

The preliminary study indicated that the mountain incline from the reservoir to Pratapnagar is an unstable landmass where Kangsali, Jalwalgaon and Khola villages are situated. The study also pointed out that there is a danger of these villages caving into the reservoir. In addition, the study questioned the efficacy of traditional treatment plans for the region.

 

The Geological Survey of India requested the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation to provide extensive maps to facilitate the study on the mountain slopes in the rim area above the reservoir. The report also revealed that there is excessive pressure on the mountain slopes at a height of 835 m in the area beginning from Tehri Confluence to Bhaldiana feeding canal and apprehensions were expressed that a slight imbalance would lead to the devastation of the area. This area has a width of 10-12 kms.

 

This report of the Geological Survey of India was not only kept secret but till now in the year 2002, that is even after 12 years, no comprehensive study of the area has been undertaken.

 

When some of the conscientious citizens belonging to the three villages falling in the rim area demanded that these villages be rehabilitated immediately, there was a flurry of activity in the official circles. As a result, the Geological Survey of India was requested to undertake a fresh study of the area in 2002. A team of geologists visited the area in the month of July. The findings of the study have not been made public so far. There is every possibility that the report may be kept secret, as was the practice earlier.

 

A comprehensive study of the rim area could not take place even this time, as Tehri Hydro Development Corporation did not provide extensive maps to the Geological Survey of India. In this context, apprehensions have been expressed that it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Corporation to create bottlenecks.

 

Many more villages have to be rehabilitated, as there is a danger of massive landslides. Lots of serious questions have been raised regarding the longevity of the dam and dangers of recurring floods as a consequence of massive (estimated at more than a crore cubic metre) inflow of rubble into the reservoir.

 

Unfortunately, this gamble is being played at the cost of life and property of thousands of people belonging to the region.

 

It is important to note that the findings of the Geological Survey of India's report had not come out till July 1990 when the Forests and Environment Ministry of the Central Government had cleared the project. In this context, the Geological Survey of India had written a letter in September 1990 to the then Additional General Manager, Tehri Hydro Development Corporation, Dr. B. Chakrabarty, who was posted in Tehri.

 

Geological Survey Report on New Tehri

 

The Geological Survey of India conducted surveys in 1985-86 and 1987 in the New Tehri Township, which is being developed in place of original Tehri and prepared two reports. These reports were also kept secret.

 

Some of the facts, which have emerged from the secret reports, are startling. From a geological perspective, many areas in New Tehri were found to be unstable or of doubtful stability and a recommendation was made in the report to forbid construction of buildings in these areas. In certain other areas, the report advised that buildings should be constructed with due caution. It also recommended that unstable areas should be developed as Green Belt.

 

The 1985-86 report contained eight inferences and recommendations. The report characterised D and E Blocks and certain areas of F and K Blocks of Sector 3 as falling under 'Slump Zone' and recommended that buildings should not be constructed in these areas.

 

Another survey conducted in 1988 reported that an area at a height of 1500 m above sea level in Moldhar village (Block D, Sector 4) is feared to be unstable. The report also cautioned that tinkering with the natural flow of water might have disastrous consequences.

 

All the survey reports had suggested that while constructing buildings, care must be taken for compact terrace filling.

 

The 1986-87 survey reported that building construction work had already started in Sector 1 and 2 prior to the survey, and therefore the study could not be done satisfactorily. Many government 3-storied buildings have also been constructed in these sectors.

 

Even after 15-16 years of these studies, huge buildings can be seen everywhere in New Tehri. Where is the Green Belt? It is indeed a daunting task to locate it. Buildings have been constructed or plots have been demarcated for further construction in the proposed Green Belt areas. Displaced people who have been distributed land or plots including government employees who

 

 

have been allotted residential quarters do not know whether they are in the Green Belt area since the survey reports have not been made public so far.

 

The displaced persons are spending huge sums on construction of houses. The government has spent crores of rupees to construct offices and residential premises for their employees in unstable areas. There would always be a danger to life and property in the area. About 3-4 years back, cracks appeared on the walls of a dozen flats as a result of land caving due to heavy rains during the monsoons. The road had also caved in and residents of many flats were evacuated later. The Executive Engineer of Public Works Department of New Tehri declared many flats dangerous for habitation and wrote an official letter to the administration. All these facts also remained secret.

 

Why such secrecy is being maintained with sensitive issues of public safety ?


{10}

 

Rehabilitation (?) Sites

 

New Tehri

 

As the entire Tehri Township was going to be submerged once the Tehri Dam was constructed, the idea of New Tehri Township took shape to settle the residents of the area.

 

In the 70s, efforts were first made to identify the site where New Tehri Township would be located. Initially, Paukhal village, Bhilangana Block, Tiprish Jakhrighar Block, Bauradi village, Badshahi Thaul village and Chamba Block were identified as likely sites. The authorities selected Paukhal village as their first preference for the new township.

 

However, in 1975, Badshahi Thaul was picked up as the preferred site for building New Tehri Township (vide G.O.No. - 886 CA/75/23C-3-17 L73 Dt. 12 March 1975).

 

As there were conflicting pulls on the choice of Badshahi Thaul village, the authorities finally selected Bauradi and adjacent villages (vide G.O.No. - 3174 CA/78-23C-3 Dt. 12 June 1978).

 

Due to controversies generated by land acquisition in Bauradi and adjacent villages, the construction of New Tehri Township was delayed. Out of the five selected villages as per the G.O., the process of land acquisition could be started only in Bauradi village. As a result, the four villages Koti, Kutha, Pipli and Gajna, which were selected earlier, were abandoned in favour of Kalna and Molghar villages and they were banded with Bauradi village. Besides, some of the forest land was also chosen for the construction of the new township.

 

New Tehri Township was designed to be built below Bauradi (which is 1950m above sea level) but now it is being built in the area above Bauradi, that is, above 1950m. As compared to Tehri, there is a marked difference in terms of climate and weather conditions here. There is also a marked difference in the geomorphological make up. Bauradi village is situated on the elevated southwest side of Tehri at a distance of 25 kms.

 

A new Master Plan 1985-2005 was prepared for building the New Tehri township in a planned manner. The Draft proposal of the Master Plan was prepared by the Urban and Rural Reconstruction Department of the UP State Government. However, the point to be noted here is that construction activities for giving a concrete shape to the New Tehri township had started much before the advent of 'Master Plan 1985-2000'.

 

The geomorphological make up of the areas chosen for building the township of New Tehri is precariously placed on a complex geological formation on an inclined plane. The Draft Proposal of the 'Master Plan 1985-2000' had delineated this predicament confronting the planners. The Draft Proposal mentions among other things: "The development of New Tehri Township would result in devastation of natural resources and environment. In such a scenario, extraordinary technical means have to be employed to safeguard the environment."

 

Population Figures - Tehri and New Tehri

 

               Year                                   Tehri                                    New Tehri

               1991                                    15730                                   4496

               2001                                    14954                                   10471

Source: National Decennial Census.

 

The Draft Proposal of the Mega Plan had envisaged that, approximately 1000 hectares of land would be required for setting up the planned township of New Tehri. According to the proposal, 30 per cent of the land should be earmarked for residential purposes while 34 per cent of the land should be left for the development of the Green Belt.

 

So far, the government has acquired only 422 acres of land. The authorities have not only shifted the government offices from Tehri and Narendranagar to the new site but have also constructed 2500 residential quarters for government employees and officials, and on top of it they want the original Tehri township to be resettled in this tiny landscape. The land here could only accommodate a district headquarter, at best. Question arises if there was a shortage of land, then why the government offices from Narendranager were shifted to the new township.

 

In fact, two to three storied structures have been constructed even in the land earmarked for the Green Belt. Inability of the project administrators to acquire or buy the requisite quantum of land as suggested by the Draft Proposal of the 'Mega Plan 1985-2000' has meant that people, particularly the residents of Tehri, have to be stuffed in the available area.

 

Not only the recommendations of the Draft Proposal of the Mega Plan but even survey reports submitted by the Geological Survey of India in 1985-86 and 1986-87 advising cessation of construction activities in the unstable areas have been sidelined.

 

In 1989, New Tehri was made the District Headquarter. Prior to it, Narendranagar situated at a distance of 70km from Tehri and 61km from New Tehri was the District Headquarter.

 

A programme was chalked out to resettle three fourths of Tehri families in New Tehri. Rest of the families was given the option to resettle in Dehradun and Rishikesh. Simultaneously, it was decided that the offices and residential areas of government, semi government officials including those who belonged to the central government be shifted to New Tehri. Most of the displaced people belonging to Benap and tenant categories opted to resettle in New Tehri. Houses were constructed in New Tehri for all the displaced people belonging to the weaker sections of the society. Distribution of land, houses and shops began in 1992, which is still continuing.

 

Our study found that around 75-80 per cent of the people belonging to Tehri have already shifted. A movement spearheaded by land owning displaced persons of Tehri has been going on for the last one year and around 300-350 land owning families are determined to continue the agitation. However, more than half of those who had shifted to New Tehri and other places still do not possess own houses. These families either reside in rented houses or tin sheds provided by the Rehabilitation Directorate. Besides the land owners, around 100 tenant families have been provided with tin sheds and some displaced families belonging to the weaker sections have also been given houses in New Tehri.

 

Resettlement process is still on in New Tehri. Some more land has to be acquired to carry out planned development of the new township. There is also a need for identifying unstable areas and development of the Green Belt.

 

Status of rural rehabilitation site

 

The condition of drinking water and water for irrigation is dismal; electricity, roads, drains, schools, panchayat houses, temples, Primary Health Centers and other civic amenities in all the rehabilitation sites remain pathetic.

 

Provision of drinking water- There are systemic flaws in drinking water projects. For instance, in Raiwala, maintenance is extremely poor. The drinking water pipelines pass through drains.

 

Water for Irrigation- Whereas water for irrigation purposes through canals was available in the original villages, the displaced people have been forced to sacrifice their crops in the rehabilitation sites which were set up 20 years earlier.

 

 In Banjarawala, people receive water free of cost only for 10 minutes in a month. As an alternative the displaced are supplied drain water and the contract for supply of this water has been given to private contractors by the government. The contractors charge exorbitant rates. The water is so unhygienic that the displaced people are unable to reuse it.

 

A canal existed in Athoor Patti, one of the original villages prior to displacement. Water is not available in Bhaniawala during the planting season. There is only one tube well in an arable area of 200 acres. Since the land is rocky, it requires more water. The organisation of water services is dismal. A 3-inch pipeline has been subdivided into 22 outlets and there is no control over flow of water.

 

Raiwala- Sufficient water is not available in accordance with the amount of land distributed. The problem of water has afflicted the people from the beginning. On top of it, there is acute shortage of electricity. So far there is no uniform rate of subsidy. Roads have not been constructed in all the places. Drains and other sources of water are in a dilapidated condition.

 

Primary Health Centers-The condition of Primary Health Centers is dismal. Only the buildings exist which are used for purposes other than health. The displaced people have to trudge long distances to avail health facilities.

 

Seed Stores- Stores have been set up by the Govt. only in one or two places and there is no timely supply of seeds. People have to depend on private sources for their seed requirements. The shops have not been allocated to the displaced.

 

In Bhaniawala, the rehabilitation site is located far away from the road. Therefore, there is an urgent need for shops to be located there. It would be advisable to allot shops to the local residents.

 

Community centers have been built only at one or two place. In Bhaniawala, building of the community center is in a bad shape. Public transport, buses in particular, are not available. People have to travel  long distances to avail some mode of public transport, whereas they could avail the same without any exertion as the original villages were located along the highway.

 


{11}                                  Thanks to the Monsoons!!!

Monsoon Work Plan for Tehri Township - 2002

 

The Uttaranchal Government and Tehri Water Development Corporation had submitted affidavits in February and March 2002 to the Supreme Court of India on the writ petition filed by N. D. Jayal and Shekhar Singh. In the affidavits, they claimed that water level in the Tehri Dam reservoir would be to the tune of 706 m above sea level during the current monsoon. Tehri township, majority of the population and populace of some dam affected villages — all would have been submerged at this water level.

 

This year, the monsoon in the Tehri Dam Catchment Area like many other parts of the country was weak. By the first week of September the water level only once touched the maximum 648m in August. In Most of the days during the monsoon, the water level remained in the range of 641 - 644m.

 

Since the government and project administrators were unable to persuade the people to vacate Tehri and as the movement of the displaced landowners continued in the interregnum, the Rehabilitation Directorate was forced to prepare a Work Plan in May for evacuating people from Tehri before monsoon. However, the Work Plan was devised only for 800 families of Tehri township living at a height of 660 m above sea level instead of 760 m. 20 per cent of the people of Tehri reside at a height above 660 m which amply makes it clear that around 1000 families were still residing in the Tehri township till the month of May, 2002.

 

The Work Plan was divided into two segments:

 

1.      General Evacuation Work Plan

2.      Emergency Work Plan

 

General Evacuation Work Plan consisted of adjudication of long standing litigation of the displaced people; evacuation of rest of the offices belonging to governmental agencies, supply of construction materials for house building etc. The emergency Work Plan pertained to evacuation of people to safe places.

 

1.      Temporary living arrangements for 400 families in government offices and school premises.

2.      250 families to be accommodated in tin sheds.

3.      300 families to be accommodated in tents.

 

Since water level did not rise significantly and displaced landowners refused to leave the township, emergency measures could not be implemented effectively. Around 100 families voluntarily shifted to tin sheds and around 200 families through their own arrangements shifted to New Tehri township and other places. Not even a single family opted to shift to tents or government offices / schools.

 

Around 500 families continued to live in Tehri when the water level was touching between 645 to 648 m during the monsoon. On 10 August, 2002, when the water level touched 648m between 2 and 3 p.m. at night and water flooded the main market, the entire township was awake and volunteers from Displaced Unemployed Front were engaged in shifting the valuables and other materials belonging to shops and homes to safer locations. When the water level was between 642 to 648m, the household belongings of 10 families and the goods of a similar number of shops were destroyed due to flooding. When the water level receded in the morning, some of the goods could be recovered. The building of a primary school situated at a height of 644m was completely inundated.

 

On the same night, the police personnel from the R.O.C. (Recruitment Training Center) were posted. Since the water level was already receding, they were saved from performing any onerous task. By early morning, the water level had receded by 2m. Seeing the rapid rise in the water level, many families had already shifted with bag and baggage to the New Tehri Township or other safe havens. All of them returned to their homes and hearths after water level receded.

 

Thanks to the current weak monsoon, the Monsoon Work Plan of the authorities lies in shambles and the plan fully exposed.


 

{12}

Level of Water in the Dam Reservoir

As Narrated by the Bhagirathi Bridge

 

In December 2001, when Diversion Tunnels No. 3 and 4 were closed, the water level in Bhagirathi River was almost at par with the Bhagirathi Bridge, which connects the dam with Tehri and is at an elevation of 638 m above sea level. But this water level kept on fluctuating. Due to factors such as drop in temperature, freezing and melting of glaciers, snowfall and its meltdown, drought conditions in the catchment area, heavy rains etc., the water level kept on fluctuating over the years. The water level dipped to 637m in December - January 2001 whereas by March 2000 it had touched 643m and completely submerged the Bhagirathi Bridge. In August, the water level varied between 640 to 642m. On 10th August after three days of incessant rains, the water level crossed 648m and the township was flooded. Later, the water level varied from 642 to 644m. However, on 7th September the water level crossed the 645m mark.

 

The Bhagirathi Bridge has become the denominator of increase or decrease in the water level of the reservoir. Even an ordinary citizen can make out the water level by observing how much of the bridge is submerged and how much of it is visible. In case the Bhagirathi Bridge is completely submerged, it means water level has crossed 643m and in case half of the bridge is visible the water level is in the range of 641m. When the bridge is completely submerged, there is anxiety in the township, and when water level recedes, people heave a sigh of relief. From Bhagirathi Puram and Tipri village, located at a distance of 8 km from the bridge, one can easily ascertain the water level.


 

 Water level of Tehri Dam Reservoir During in Monsoon, 2002

 

 

 

10 August, 2002

648&20

11 August, 2002

643&00

12 August, 2002

642&00

13 August, 2002

642&00

14 August, 2002

645&35

15 August, 2002

645&00

16 August, 2002

642&30

17 August, 2002

642&00

18 August, 2002

641&30

19 August, 2002

641&30

20 August, 2002

640&60

21 August, 2002

640&55

22 August, 2002

640&55

23 August, 2002

640&35

24 August, 2002

641&70

25 August, 2002

640&65

26 August, 2002

642&30

27 August, 2002

641&80

28 August, 2002

641&80

29 August, 2002

641&95

30 August, 2002

640&95

31 August, 2002

641&00

1 September, 2002

641&90

2 September, 2002

641&35

3 September, 2002

640&95

4 September, 2002

640&75

5 September, 2002

640&20

6 September, 2002

642&40

7 September, 2002

645&80

8 September, 2002

642&90

9 September, 2002

641&95

10 September, 2002

640&90

11 September, 2002

640&80

12 September, 2002

646&00

13 September, 2002

647&40

14 September, 2002

644&05

15 September, 2002

641&40

 


{13}

Historical Trihari (Tehri)

 

The biggest township, which is going to be submerged in India, is perhaps Tehri. Instead of augmenting its own prosperity after independence, the Tehri township is being devastated in the name of oft-repeated national development. This is an ancient land, which is being submerged and devastated under the pretext of developmental projects.

 

The place where Tehri Dam is being constructed, finds a mention as `Dhanushtirth` in the 'Skandha Puran'. The confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangna rivers is just 500m from the main gate of the dam which is known as 'Ganesh Prayag'. Known as Trihari - the confluence of three rivers and later called Tehri was adopted by the founder of 'Practical Vedanta', Swami Ramtirth as an abode of meditation and 'nirvana'.

 

Tehri Township was built by King of Garhwal state, Sudarshan Shah belonging to Panwar dynasty as the new capital in 1815 A.D. Prior to this, the capital was Srinagar Garhwal, which had been captured by the East India Company. The capital Tehri built by King Sudarshan Shah witnessed royal grandeur for almost 133 years.

 

The state however witnessed decline after the reign of the sixth king. Till the state's decline, Tehri continued to be the capital. Being the capital, Tehri became the hub of education, literature, culture and politics. Even after independence, Tehri retained its importance. It was the centre of peoples' movements. Chipko, Prohibition, University and Uttarakhand movements still reverberate in the streets and markets of Tehri and chronicle the grandeur of the township. Shri Dev Suman had undertaken a marathon 84-day-old hunger strike, which is only second in duration in the world history.

 

The fast had been undertaken to gain freedom from the royal rule. After 84 days, Shri Dev Suman passed away and became a martyr.

 

After visiting Yamunotri and Gangotri, most of the pilgrims heading for Kedarnath and Badrinath have to pass through Tehri. Even when there was no motorable road, Tehri was the traditional route of the pilgrims.

 

Unlike in other places, where construction of dams has taken place, the displaced people are mostly tribals or indigenous people, in Tehri the displaced belong to highly educated middle class families. According to the 1992 statistics of the National Literacy Mission, the literacy rate in Tehri had reached 98 %. (The Literacy Campaign started in the entire district in 1992). The literacy rate in the township was 68.75% in 1971, which jumped to 76% by 1978.

 

Besides education and literacy, the economic conditions in the township was admirable. Only 5.54% of the houses were thatched. Although Narendranagar was the district headquarter, more than 40 government offices were located in Tehri including the District Court. All civic amenities were available at a distance of 2-3 km. for the residents. Since Tehri was the central point and the nearest market for the adjoining 200 villages, there was lots of hustle bustle and the place used to be quite crowded.

 

It is a significant fact to be noted that no family was below the poverty line in the township, which could be corroborated by government documents, particularly from the records of Public Distributation System (PDS). The premises of Garhwal University, Government Hospital, Post and Telegraph offices are also located here.

 

 

Due to the dam, the developmental activities in the region had been stalled in the 70s.

 

People are still raising their voices against the attack on their geography, history, heritage and the unfulfilled promises of rehabilitation made by the government. Dharnas' (sit in strikes) and rallies are still taking place in the township organised by the Tehri Bhumidhar Visthapit Sangthan (Tehri Displaced Landowners' Organisation), Tehri Mool-Upekshit Visthapit Sangthan and Thela-Patri Union (Hawkers` Union). The MATU Peoples' Organisation also supports and cooperates with these organisations. The entire township is endangered by flooding of water from Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers due to the closure of Diversion Tunnels T-1 and T-2. Land, houses, agricultural farms, courtyards, gardens, temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches, memorials of great persons, royal palace - everything is turning into ruins before submergence.

 

The same township, which boasted of peoples' movements on the streets against the royal rule and ensured its downfall, lies in shambles today.

 

 

The Population Figures of Tehri After Independence

 

Year

1951

1961

1971

1981

1991

2001

Population of Tehri

2856

4508

5480

12249

15730

14954

 Source: National Decennial Census

 

 

Civic Amenities in Tehri

 

S. No.

Amenity

Number

1.

Schools/Colleges

25

2.

Hospitals/Clinics

1+13

3.

Playing Grounds

(excluding those belonging to schools and colleges)

2

4.

Cinema Halls

2

5.

Libraries (excluding those belonging to schools)

2

6.

Temples

16

7.

Mosques

2

8.

Gurudwaras

1

9.

Churches

1

10.

Idgah

1

11.

Industries

25

12.

Shops and Hotels etc.

About 700

13.

District Level Government offices

About 40

 


The Historical and Cultural Heritage of Tehri Region

 

In Tehri, there are religious, cultural and archaeological places and monuments of importance, which require conservation efforts. However, there is no plan for conserving the heritage in the submergence area of the reservoir.

 

In fact, some 'Dharmshalas' (places of residence for the pilgrims), rock scriptures, unique craftsmanship on wood and stone still exist in the precincts of Badrinath Temple complex. Nearby, the staircases of 'Ghats' reaching the innermost depths of the confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilanagana rivers still exist.

 

The Badrinath complex consists of a large number of intricate high-domed mosque like temple structures having  unique, expansive metal sculptures of presiding deities like 'Satteshwar Shivling', 'Bhairav Panchmukhi Hanuman', 'Raj Rajeshwari', 'Laxmi Narayan, 'Ranganath', 'Ganga Dakshin Kali', 'Shitala Mata' - all these still exist.

 

The meditation site of Swami Ramtirth, the rock known as the 'Elephant of Ram Badshah', Bamrauni Cave, 'Gol Kothi' and Memorial still exist including the 'Ghanta Ghar' (Bell Tower) constructed in memory of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria, still exist.

 

The 'Ashtavakra Rishi Shilas', 'Gopeshwari Ling' and 'Raktavarna Ganesh Shila' on the confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers including the 'Shish Mahal' in Simlasu have already been submerged under the spate of water and sand.

 

In one of the Hindu treatise 'Kedarkhand', Tehri and the important adjoining places find a mention in Hymns 146-147, which are tragically in the submergence area of the Dam.

 

Legend has it that Aadi Shankaracharya had been responsible for building the ancient temple in Malidewal village of Bhagirathi Valley.


Annexure-I

 

Demand Charter of MATU- Peoples' Organisation

 

1. The process of land acquisition should be time bound: - There are many irregularities in its implementation. And as a result, people are facing innumerable economic and psychological hardships.

 

2. The process of land acquisition should be based on displacement and rehabilitation, in that order: - So far, the process has taken place without any regard to rules and regulations, and has been heavily influenced by the whims of THDC and contractors. The land acquisition process has been carried out in those villages where soil, stones and other requirements for the construction of the Dam are being acquired. For instance, in Badkot village of Bhilangana Valley, though land was acquired earlier, the rehabilitation process took place much earlier in other villages. Similarly, compensation for houses was paid later in Dobhan village, which would be submerged first. These instances exemplify rampant corruption prevalent in the corporation.

 

3. In case any person identified as eligible for rehabilitation, passes away during land acquisition process, the dependents of such a person should be considered as eligible for rehabilitation.

 

4. All adults of 18 years of age and above should be considered when section 4 is applied: - The submergence area has been consistently deprived of developmental activities for the last 25 years. Consequently, the youth of the region has been deprived of avenues for economic advancement. Therefore, the benefits of section 4 should be equitably distributed among all those who are 18 years and above.

 

The erroneous policy of fixing eligibility criteria is that displaced people in the age bracket of 70-80 years are eligible for compensation whereas their married children and grand children are not entitled to rehabilitation benefits. The tragedy is that if the eldest person of the household passes away, the household receives some compensation of land. However, the rest of the family including married children and grandchildren receive nothing in terms of rehabilitation / compensation.

 

5. The policy of land in lieu of land not measuring less than two acres or monetary compensation which is often the rule in areas while displacing the original inhabitants plays havoc with the life style of farmers as they are deprived of their only means of subsistence. Various studies in India have reported that cash compensation is no panacea, as it is spent on short-term consumer needs in the absence of proper investment avenues in the rural areas. Wherever the farmer community has been displaced in our country and has not been compensated by land, experience shows that all such families have been ruined.

 

6. Land to be given prior to compensation for house: - It is illogical to make compensation payments for houses before compensation is paid for agricultural and homestead land. By the time people receive compensation amount for land, the compensation amount for houses has already been spent. For instance, the situation in Godi Sirai village, where compensation for houses had been paid earlier and that for land later, the predicament of the displaced can be starkly observed. Ironically, land is being distributed but at the rate of 2 and 1/2 Bighas instead of 2 acres as earlier promised.

 

7. The rate for valuation of land should be determined on the basis of rates prevailing in Uttarkashi, Chinyali Sourd and Chamba districts-the land of the displaced people is valued at a much lower rate. The rates determined by the registry are out of date. Land that is going to be submerged is valued at the same rate, which prevails outside the developed areas beyond submergence. Developmental works have been stalled for years as it is declared in the submergence area.

 

8. The G.O. on employment related provisions on rehabilitation should be activated immediately. The G.O. of 28-12-1973 stipulates that the provision regarding employment to be given to one member of the displaced family in the project or other governmental agencies should be followed in letter and spirit. However, the situation is just the reverse: outsiders have been recruited in the project and they are facing the wrath of displaced unemployed. Unemployment has registered a phenomenal increase without any developmental programmes in the submergence area.

 

9. First give us possession of the land, then acquire our land- Since 1978, displaced people living in rehabilitation sites have not received registered deeds of the land. As a result, they are unable to avail loans and other facilities from government and non-governmental agencies. Even in legal matters they are handicapped since they are not eligible to take bail etc.

 

10. A village should be resettled as a community and should be provided with basic amenities: -The rehabilitation sites suffer from lack of basic civic amenities. Water, fuel and fodder did not cost anything in the original villages. A village should be considered as a unit for resettlement so that their life pattern is not disrupted.

 

11. The cut-off date far a village should be determined at par with the Township- The cut-off date for Tehri Township has been determined as 1985, whereas for villages it is 1976. According to government claims, the rehabilitation process has already been completed in Tehri Township.

In some villages, Section 4 has not been applied. It is imperative that the cut off date of the villages should be changed so as to bring them at par with the Township.

 

12. Immediate demarcation of boundaries should be carried out in the partially affected villages of the region, particularly in the Uttarkashi district.

 

13. Others should not be displaced at the cost of our rehabilitation, since displacement is not only unethical but also traumatic. This is not only violation of human rights of the displaced people, but often gives rise to permanent hostilities with the original inhabitants.

 

14. A Master Plan must be devised which addresses the question of land and other resources and a work plan be prepared to execute the same.

 

15.The camps organised by the Rehabilitation Department should be at the village level so that the villagers do not have to incur unnecessary expenditure and waste their valuable time by running from pillar to post.

 

16. After determining all such farms including potato farms and tea gardens which are running at a loss, should be handed over to the displaced people.

 

17. The displaced should be given priority in government horticulture projects.

 

18. The administration should be made responsible to ensure the right of information at the village level.

 

19. The process of public hearings on village problems should be expedited.

 

20. The height of the dam should not be increased as long as rehabilitation process is not completed.


Annexure-II

 

Demand Charter of Tehri Bhoomidhar Sangthan

(Tehri Landowners' Organisation)

 

1. Assistance for construction of houses:

A minimum of Rs. 5 lakh should be granted at the rehabilitation sites in New Tehri which is equivalent to the cost of a two room tenement in New Tehri.

 

2. Compensation: It should be paid in accordance with the recommendations of Tehri Dam Project Rehabilitation Coordination Committee and the Government of Uttaranchal.

 

3. Employment: One member of each displaced family to be given employment.

 

4. Compensation for Land: There should be uniform compensation rates in the Township.

At present, the compensation rates vary from ward to ward.

 

5. Shops: Shop owners should be provided with shops in accordance with the recommendations of Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee. Shop would also be allotted without cost to those shop owners, who are not running the shop themselves.

 

6. Land ownership rights should be conferred on the distributed land.

 

7. The recommendations of Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee must be implemented in toto.

 

8. A comprehensive geological survey to identify unstable areas should be conducted and houses should be insured at the project cost.

 


Annexure-III

 

A, workshop was jointly organised by MATU Peoples' Organisation and Tehri Bhumidhar Visthapit Sangthan (Tehri Landowners`Displaced Organisation) on "Dam, Displacement and Uttarakhand on 10 March 2002. Among the participants were Mr. Surendra Mohan (a senior socialist leader), Mr. Rajendra Dhasmana (representative of Peoples` Union for Civil Liberties), Mr. Phool Singh Bisht, Mr. Kishore Upadhyaya, Mr. Subodh Uniyal (newly elected member of Uttaranchal Legislative Assembly belonging to the ruling party), Mr. Jagdamba Raturi, Mr. Shailendra Nautiyal, Mr. Mahipal Negi and Vimalbhai. The following resolution was unanimously passed:

 

Resolution

 

+All promises made to the people belonging to the displacement and affected areas since the beginning of land and house acquisition process for construction of Tehri Dam, relevant government orders, policies and the recommendations of Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee should be implemented in Toto. All the civic amenities in the township and villages must be maintained till the last displaced person is rehabilitated. A committee for investigating corruption cases and a grievance cell as recommended by Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee, which also found favor with the government, must be immediately constituted.

 

+According to the original policy, the displaced villagers should be given plots for houses, 2 acres of agricultural land free of cost and instead of assistance for construction of houses, the expenses for construction of houses should be borne by the project. All the government order pertaining to employment should be revived and the families of unemployed landowning displaced people should be given commercial plots around the reservoir for development of tourism. According to the original policy, commercial loans should be provided. Those displaced villagers who have been given 1/2 acre of agricultural land, should be given the rest of 1 and 1/2 acres of agricultural land at a different place or cash payment should be made in lieu of it. A separate rehabilitation policy should be enunciated to give relief to Raika, Khola, Jalwal Gaon and Kangsali villages which fall in the landslide (rim) area. Immediate resolution of complaints regarding eligibility for displaced villagers. Compensation should be paid to small traders. An agreement should be signed by the Central Government with the landowners and revenue rights should be conferred on residential and agricultural land.

 

+In accordance with the recommendation of Dr. Hanumantha Rao committee, newly identified adult families should be declared separate and fully displaced and provided with all the benefits of rehabilitation.

 

+Since water level in the river rises significantly during the rainy season, the landowners should be paid compensation and cost of housing on a war footing. Safety of their life and property must be ensured. The link roads joining the township with other areas should be opened for traffic and a viable transportation system should be created. The fundamental and human rights of the displaced should be defined and ensured. The construction of the dam should cease till such time full and just rehabilitation has taken place.

 

Resolution

 

 Keeping in view the terrible and bitter experiences of people due to displacement and rehabilitation problems in Tehri, a pragmatic, participatory, human Master Plan should be chalked out and a Work Plan should be devised to give effect to the Master Plan on a war footing.


Annexure-IV

Dams in Uttarakhand

 

Hydroelectric Projects In Uttaranchal

 

Existing Projects

S. N.

Name of Project

Capacity

Agency

Comm Date

River

1.        

Maneri Bhali St-I

90

UHPC

1984

Bhagirathi

2.        

Dhakrani Y St-I

33.75

State Sec.

1965,66,70

Yamuna

3.        

Khara

72

State Sec

1992

NA

4.        

Khodri

120

State Sec.

1984

Yamuna

5.        

Chilla

144

State Sec.

1980,81

NA

6.        

Ramganga

198

State Sec.

1975,76,77

Ramganga

7.        

Khulal Y St- IV

30

State Sec.

1975

Yamuna

8.        

Dhalipur Y St- I

51

State Sec.

1965,66,70

Yamuna

9.        

Patheri

20.4

State Sec.

1955

Ganga Canal

10.     

Khatima

41.4

State Sec.

1956

Sharda

11.     

Chibro Y St- II

240

State Sec.

1975

Yamuna

12.     

Tanakpur

120

NHPC

1992

Sharda

(Info Sources: Compendium of Power Generating Plants, CEA, New Delhi, July 1997.)

 

Projects under Construction

 

S. N.

Name of Project

Capacity

Agency

Info Sources

Comm Date

River

13.     

Katapathar

19

State Sec

Annexure- IV, CEA

2005-06

NA

14.     

Tehri St- I

1000

THDC

Annexure- IV, CEA

2003

Bhagirathi

15.     

Tehri Pump Storage

1000

THDC

TOI-D,  23/12/01

NA

Bhagirathi

16.     

Maneri Bhali St- II

304

UHPC

TOI-D, 23/12/01

2003-05

Bhagirathi

17.     

Dhauli Ganga St- I

280

NHPC

NHPC Brochure

2005

NA

18.     

Koteswar

400

THDC

Annexure- IV, CEA

NA

Bhagirathi

 

Projects under planning

 

S. N.

Name of Project

Capacity

Agency

Info Sources

Comm Date

River

19.     

Palmaneri

416

UHPC

TOI-D,  23/12/01/ R Sahara- 13/01/02, TOI-110902

NA

Bhagirathi

20.     

Loharinagpala

520

THDC

TOI-D,  23/12/01, TOI-D 11/09/02

NA

Bhagirathi

21.     

Bharon Ghati- II

240

UHPC

TOI-D,  23/12/01

NA

Bhagirathi

22.     

Bharon Ghati- I

324

UHPC

TOI-D, 23/12/01

NA

Bhagirathi

23.     

Lakhwar Vyasi

420

UPHC

Annexure- IV, CEA

10th Plan

Yamuna

24.     

Srinagar (Duncans Group)

330

Private Sec

Annexure- IV, CEA

2005-06

Alaknanda

25.     

Tapovan Vishnugad

360

 

SANDRP Database

NA

NA

26.     

Tiuni Plasu

42

UPHC

POP, PPS, P-43

NA

NA

27.     

Kishau Dam

600

UPHC

TO-D, 23/12/01

NA

Yamuna

28.     

Vishnu Prayag (JP Group)

400

Private Sec.

Annexure- IV, CEA

10th Plan

Alaknanda

29.     

Arakot Tiuni

70

UHPC

TOI-D 110902

NA

Pabar/Yamuna

30.     

G Ganga

70

NHPC

POP, PPS, P-43

11th Plan

NA

(POP, PPS: Power on Demand By 2012 Perspective Plan Studies, CEA, New Delhi, July 1999.

TOI-D : Times of India, Delhi)

 

 

 

Projects under survey and investigation

 

S. N.

Name of Project

Capacity

Name of River

Categorized by CEA

31.      

Sirkari Bhyol Bogud

240

Sarda

B

32.      

Benakuli

40

Alaknanda

A

33.      

Tapovan Chunar

485

Dhauliganga

A

34.      

Lata Tapovan

320

Dhauliganga

A

35.      

Bowala Nand Prayag

132

Alaknanda

A

36.      

Vishnugad Pipalkoti

360

Alaknanda

A

37.      

Bhela Tipri

100

Bhagirathi

A

38.      

Bhariron Ghati

60

Bhagirathi

A

39.      

Naitwar Mori

70

Yamuna

A

40.      

Sankri- Kunari

33

Yamuna

A

41.      

Pishanaitwar

30

Yamuna

A

42.      

Ugmir

28

Yamuna

A

43.      

Diulong-Sumangaor

26

Bhilangana

A

44.      

Tiuni

42

Yamuna

A

45.      

Kuwa Ford

42

Yamuna

B

46.      

Badri Nath

260

Alaknanda

B

47.      

Lohari Nag Tharang

520

Bhagirathi

B

48.      

Girthi Ganga

34

Grithi Ganga

B

49.      

Malkhet Dam

37

Yamuna

B

50.      

Sela Urthing

165

Sarda

B

51.      

Khet Tawaghat

225

Sarda

B

52.      

Mapang Bogudyar

185

Sarda

B

53.      

Kotlibhel

1000

Bhagirathi

B

54.      

Mandakini

36

Mandakini

B

55.      

Sobala Jhimrigoan

145

Sarda

B

56.      

Tamak Lata

200

Dhauliganga

B

57.      

Urthing Sobala

340

Sarda

B

58.      

Nakot Patlasu

43

Yamuna

B

59.      

Banoli Nalgam

55

Pindar

B

60.      

Dhargoan-Jandarwa

29

Bhilangana

B

61.      

Kalika Dantu

140

Sarda

B

62.      

Tokh Gurupa

26

Pindar

B

63.      

Gangotri

70

Bhagirathi

B

64.      

Jamolna-Ghanshyali

44

Bhilangana

B

65.      

Karmali

190

Jadh Ganga

B

66.      

Niti Ganshali

32

Dhauliganga

B

67.      

Taluka-Saul

39

Yamuna

B

68.      

Devi Bagar Khartoli

40

Sarda

B

69.      

Jalem Tamak

150

Dhaulliganga

B

70.      

Garjia Dam

295

Sarda

B

71.      

Tawaghat Dharchula

310

Sarda

B

72.      

Gohana Tal

95

Bhagirathi

B

73.      

Garba Tawaghat

195

Sarda

B

74.      

Utyasu

1140

Alaknanda

B

75.      

Khasiyabara

280

Sarda

B

76.      

Sirkari Bhyol Rus Ba

145

Sarda

B

77.      

Malari Jhelum

90

Dhaulliganga

B

78.      

Jadh Ganga

110

Jadh Ganga

B

79.      

Rishi Ganga-I

115

Rishi Ganga

B

80.      

Deodi

65

Rishi Ganga

B

81.      

Ramganga Dam

75

Sarda

B

82.      

Bokang Bailang

145

Sarda

B

83.      

Pala Bhila Tipri

400

Bhagirathi

B

84.      

Nayar Dam

34

Nayar

B

85.      

Khel Kuran neti

49

Dhaulliganga

B

86.      

Bampa Kurkuti

60

Dhaulliganga

B

87.      

Rishi Ganga II

65

Rishi Ganga

B

88.      

Chhanger Chal

145

Sarda

B

89.      

Devasari Dam

78

Pindar

B

90.      

Nelang

190

Jadh Ganga

B

91.      

Harsil Dam

350

Bhagirathi

B

92.      

Khartoli Lumti Talli

105

Sarda

B

93.      

Nand Prayag Langa

180

Alaknanda

B

(Source: Financing of Hydropower Projects, ASSOCHAM, January-2002, Annexure-I)

 

Compiled by: South Asia Network on Dams, River & People (SANDRP)

October 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

In their own words .......

 

(Interviews from rehabilitation sites by Laxmi Naudiyal )

 

Shahdik, age 26, from Tehri and now residing in New Tehri

 

We had a business of selling bangles in Tehri. Not only Muslims, but we used to sell bangles to Hindu sisters as well. They used to buy their wedding and post marriage requirements from us, but here in New Tehri a feeling has taken root that they should buy only from Hindu traders. Our elders used to bathe in the Ganges. But there is no Ganges out here. One of our elderly ladies used to light earthen lamps known as diyas. But here in New Tehri, the situation is entirely different. The Hindus went to one place and the Muslims are residing in another place. In the houses constructed for the weaker sections, Hindus do not inform about vacant rooms and the same goes for the Muslims. In Tehri people of both the communities lived together. They used to participate in each other's festivals. But the situation is different here. Last year the people of Tehri had together celebrated Deepawali, Id and Christmas. In fact both Hindus and Muslims used to take part in Ram Lila. But there is no community feeling here in Tehri. People of both the communities used to help each other. I feel the soil itself is bad here. Nobody recognises each other here. Every individual is propelled by profit motive and self-seeking.To pull each other`s leg they foment communal feelings. In Tehri people lived with good neighborly sentiments based on universal brotherhood but here each person is guided by personal benefit.

 

 

Mr. M. Nautiyal, from Tehri and now in Ajabpur Kalan

 

There are no basic civic amenities here. There in no hospital, primary school of or public school. It consists of urban displaced families. It means quite a lot to come to Dehradun from Tehri. This city does not have any avenues of employment. This is an advanced place and people are going to face more difficulties after the city has been declared capital of Uttaranchal. In Tehri, one could get odd jobs every now and then. In Tehri every individual had a status and identify and even if there was no employment, at least the person was secure at home. Here it would take inordinately long time to get settled, as the life standard is quite high. There has not been any perceptible increase in income even after moving to the city. In fact, the question of increase in income does not arise as T.H.D.C has not provided any employment opportunities. Displaced people are just eking out an existence. Since Tehri township is anyway going to be submerged and people are going to be displaced, people have only found a place of shelter and are trying to make both ends meet. There are no employment avenues here. Where we used to live in Tehri, people could earn something through agriculture or by growing vegetables. The reality is that expenditure has increased here. If you want to go to a place, you just cannot traverse the distance on foot, as was the case earlier. The independence which we enjoyed in Tehri, is unparalleled. Our children are forced to commute to school by buses or other means of transport. There are private vehicles all around the city, whereas we used to walk on foot in Tehri to reach various places.

 

In Tehri, there were three playing fields. The children from the township are well placed in life. Tehri was a good business center whereas even the market is located at a distance of 5km here.

 

Harsh Lal Aswal in Banjarawala, age 65 years.

 

We had 18 fruit bearing trees of mangoes, pomegranates, guava, apricot and khumani for which a meager amount of Rs. 2,400 paid as compensation. In each season, 5 quintals of mangoes could be harvested from the mature mango trees and 25 kgs of pomegranates could be picked. We had 5 trees of pomegranate, 2 trees of apricot, 3 trees of khumani and 8 trees of guava. We had tended these trees like our children.

 

Mohan Singh Negi in Bhaniawala, age 25 years, from Khand village

 

The displaced people have constructed their houses by taking loans. The cost of construction has gone up considerably over the years. As a result, displaced people are selling their houses. The day is not far off, when even a single displaced person would be left in the area, as outsiders, particularly the Biharis and Panjabis, are buying their land and houses.

 

Chandan Singh Negi in Bhaniawala, age 78 years

 

Some displaced families were given plots for houses, while in other cases it is disputed. The agricultural land here is located at a distance of 3 kms. from plots for houses. Neither the Irrigation Department nor THDC follow any rules. Plots for houses have been distributed arbitrarily depending on who has access to and which influential person has pushed the claim.

 

Nara Devi, from Khand village, age 66 years

 

We protested with black flags and even went to jail. We were sent to Dehradun, Saharanpur and Bareilly jails from time to time. We all were in the movement. The government has not taken any care about our future. If the government states that Tehri would not be submerged, our submission is that give back our land. We would immediately move over. Let our heaven be returned to us. We would be too happy to go back. It is hell here. Even if a hut is available in heaven, our hearts would feel contented. Here every material is adulterated. Whether you construct New Tehri or Bhaniawala, the abode of the Gods would remain in Tehri where we resided for generations. That is our place of worship and we will worship there only. This new place is the abode of demons.

 

Pratipal Singh Negi in Bhaniawala, from Athoor Patti, age 70 years

 

14 villages have been rehabilitated here, yet there is no Government High School. Whereas in Tehri there was one Inter College for boys and another for girls.

 

Sundari Devi Thapliyal from Kandal village, age 68 years

 

There is no water here. When we were rehabilitated, an assurance was given that soon water will reach us, yet to date we have not received any water. Everything grows here, including sugarcane. But if water is not there imagine what can grow here. Many displaced families have already sold their land.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

: Reference list:

 

  1. Tehri Dam-Rehabilitation Policy 1995-THDC
  2. Tehri Dam-Rehabilitation Policy 1995-THDC
  3. Letter of Geological Survey of India to THDC on Tehri Dam rim area-1990
  4. Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee Report-1997
  5. Affidavits filed by Uttarancahal Government in Supreme Court of India dated-February 2002 and September 2002
  6. Affidavit filed by THDC in Supreme Court of India dated-March 2002
  7. Leaflet of Tehri Bandh Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti
  8. Master Plan of New Tehri-1985-2005
  9. Report of Administrative Staff College on Tehri Dam-March 2002
  10. Collection of Government Order related with Tehri Dam-1982 and 1987-Rehbilitation Department
  11. Rehabilitation Plan 1989-Rehabilitation Directorate of Tehri Dam Project
  12. Hindi magazine "Uttarakhand Ajkal"
  13. Amar Ujala Hindi Daily-Aritcal by Mahipal Negi dated 25-5-1991
  14. Information from Special Land Acquisition Office
  15. History of Tehri Garwal State (part1 & 2) In Hindi By Shiv Prasad Dabral
  16. Minutes of the meeting dated--13-3-2000, headed by District Magistrate of Tehri. Discussion on Tehri Dam cut-off-area.
  17. Minutes of the meeting dated—28-1-2002, headed by Chief secretary of Uttaranchal
  18. Shifting Plan, May 2002, for Tehri Town in Monsoon.
  19. Information from Municipal Corporation of Tehri
  20. Information from Flood Control office of New Tehri-September, 2002
  21. Information from Construction Dept. of Public Works Department, New Tehri
  22. Different reports of South Asia Network on Dams, River & People (SANDRP)

 

 


Fourth Document

 

This document is an attempt towards raising some of the significant issues. Serious contemplation is required on these issues. Not only because Tehri Dam project is being promoted under the pretext of development, though it is an alarming signal of devastation. But contemplation and wide-ranging discussions become the need of the hour since Uttarakhand projected as a source of bountiful energy, in actuality, spells the destruction of existent perennial rivers, mountains and their inhabitants.

 

The document also emphasises that question of full rehabilitation is not an isolated one. It is much more than that. Full rehabilitation of the displaced people is chimerical since it is not going to be accomplished in the near future. Manipulation of data, political ambitions, lack of adequate land and rampant corruption reveal that the question of rehabilitation is not an isolated one. Questions such as the cost-benefit ratio of the Dam, environmental devastation and unpredictable seismic movements are as much related. The quantum of silt accumulated in the reservoir is an indicator that it would seriously affect the longevity of the Dam and consequently the amount of power generation would fall far short of projected estimates, notwithstanding the claims of the project authorities.

 

In this context, the following issues are most topical:

 

 

ό      Why the reports of Geological Survey of India have not been made public so far?

 

ό      Why the meeting of Co-ordination Committee on Rehabilitation has not been held for the past one year?

 

ό      Why the Special Grievance Cell as recommended by Dr. Hanumantha Rao Committee and approved by the Central Government, has still not been constituted?