The existing Maneri-Bhali 1 hydro power project of just 90MW, is working at almost half its efficiency since the last ten years. The reasons stated in the RTI are:
Increased silt in the river during monsoons
Decreased flow during winters.
The problem of silt is only going to increase in the near future owing to melting of the glaciers, how then can a upstream project of 600MW function when on the same river a 90MW is not running to its capacity.
Dropping water levels: Ganga was flowing at half her normal capacity last year. The global climate change has already seen this in cases of several other rivers.
The Akwekon guidelines , officially accepted by the Government of India, wherein the EIA must consist the social impact of a proposed project, were completely ignored.
No water-sustainability study has been carried out in any of the EIA’s.
Through the RTI:
The water sustainability study was withdrawn later by MoEF
The NTPC had agreed to be in the process of conducting the study
Finally stated that the study had been withdrawn
The RTI’s enquiring the Glacier study In 2006 – the study was given to NIH In 2007 – it was not completed/ submitted by NIH In 2009 – it was declared that the need for the study has been withdrawn long back
Dried water sources – Loharinag-Pala HURI Completely dried sources: Pangraya khal Nargad There were 7 water mills that used to run in the village, now only 1 SALANG Out of many sources of water, only 1-2 are left
Total loss of crops due to land loss: Rs.10,400/ naali *
Total production of crops during the construction phase: Rs.4,750/ naali. Loss per naali = 10,400 – 4,750 = Rs.5,650
It has been mentioned in the EIA, that during the construction phase of he project, the environment shall be polluted & there’ll be dust etc due to which the overall cultivation might be affected.
Based on the study it is pretty clear that the loss incurred by the entire village outweighs the projected gain by the NTPC. For the remaining many years the land that is lost to the project will bear the pain & the damage is irreparable & incomparable.
An overall trend with Hydro projects in Himalayas
Several issues with Tehri – health hazards, landslides, cracks in houses, effect over villages even far from the reservoirs
Problems after Maneri Bhali – 1 – the earthquake & casualities in Jhamak
Problems after Maneri Bhali – 2 – Cement in their fields, complete loss of drinking water, diseases
Vishnugad Tapovan – where 23-24 cusecs of water moved into the tunnel during construction
Chai gaaon – where the houses are destroyed & the earth has sunken at many places
Similar trend in Loharinag-Pala – observed so far
We are already seeing the dried water sources in the villages in vicinity
We are already seeing cracks in the houses
The production has been severely affected
The cases of health problems have increased
There is cement deposited in the clean stretch of Ganga
Mountains have become more fragile - Cement being sprayed to keep the mountains intact
Environmental flow for A class rivers such as Ganga is actually her natural flow. On such rivers, no projects or construction should be proposed or executed, in order to maintain the special water quality of the river.
Decreased water flow (since most it will be tunneled) means increased temperatures, loss of aquatic life & velocity.
As has been seen in the case of Maneri-Bhali, under the banner of hydro power prjects, Ganga gets reduced into a mere rivulet.