Yamuna dammed: Affected People wants proper rehabilitation
Project Name: Proposed Vyasi Hydroelectric Project (120 MW)
River: Yamuna (Tehri and Dehradoon District) Uttarakhand
Agency: National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC)
“Delhi and other cities need water and this dam will provide water for them, and electricity only to Uttarakhand state.” These were the opening words of the person who was presenting the summary of the EIA and EMP of Vyasi HEP (120MW). The EIA and EMP of the project is prepared by G. B. Pant Institute of Almora.
Fact is that the work of Vyasi HEP had started in 1987 under the Irrigation Department of State of Uttar Pradesh. It got environment clearance in 1986. However, in 1992, dam work had stopped due to lack of funds. Land for the dam was also acquired and most of the affected people got 70% of compensation. Till 1992 people did not know whether the construction of dam would start or not.
In the public hearing Mr. Milkhi Ram, President of Lakhwad Vyasi Bandh Prabhavit Jan Kalyan Samiti (Lakhwad-Vyasi dam affected people Welfare Committee) presented his petition. He said that they wanted that a new Rehabilitation Policy should be implemented , land rate should be on the current scale, employment for the affected etc.
After him all the speakers spoke mainly on rehabilitation issues. Even those issues were not cleared and have no weight. One or two speakers said in no uncertain terms, “If our demands will not fulfill, we will fight for our rights.”
The issue of rehabilitation was raised mainly because the people were fed up. They had lost their lands and were unable to do anything. Furthermore, hardly anybody knows about the Environment Impact Assessment Report and Environment Management Plan and the process of EIA Public Hearing. As Matu Peoples’ Organisation had worked in many other dam affected areas, we made a 15 point demand charter which was signed by the Lakhwad Vyasi Bandh Prabhavit Jan Kalyan Samiti, local villagers, Matu Peoples’ Organisation and MR. Shanti Prasad Pokhriyal of AME.
This letter was presented by Mr. Naresh Chohan of Lohari Village. In this letter the last demand was raised that the EIA and EMP Reports should be understood at the village level.
In an another letter Matu Peoples’ Organisation pointed out that EIA and EMP Reports were not impartial, affect of cascade of dam was not mentioned, no study of global warming was done, Disaster Management Plan was not discussed properly, level of river water remaining etc. This letter given to the panel and these issues were incorporated in the minutes. NHPC objected to this but panel stood firm.
Finally, the minutes of Public Hearing were made and announced, completing the Public hearing formally.
Yamuna will be dammed and Delhi people will get water. Already Delhi is getting water from Tehri Dam where thousands are still waiting for rehabilitation and the environment has been destroyed.
How much Ganga-Yamuna will we destroy?
Development for all, not only for few