Press Note: 30-7-2013
It was not a Natural - Disaster, Vishnuprayag Damis Responsible for it !
Our Struggle Shall go on !
On 16-06-2013, the sudden flood on Alaknanda River which washed away Lambagarh, Vinayak Chatti, Pandukeshwar, Govindghat, Pinoli ghat villages was a result of Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric Power Project built and operated by Jayprakash Group (also known as Jaypee Group). In this regard, we give below a self explanatory letter written by Vishnuprayag Dam clamity affected People’s Group. Subsequently, Matu Jansangthan has also written to the govt. about the issue. We are waiting for the next course of action from the government, after which we will explore further options within constitutional rights available to us.
Vimalbhai, Dinesh Singh Panwar
20 July 2013
Smt. Jayanti Natarajan
Minister of Environment and Forest, Govt of India, New Delhi
Shri. Jyothiraditya Scindia
Minister of Power, Govt of India, New Delhi
Shri. Harish Rawat
Mininster of Water Resources, Govt of India, New Delhi
Shri. Vijay Bahuguna
Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Dehradun
Gopeshwar - Chamoli District, Uttarakhand
Respected Madam/ Sir,
Subject: Compensation to the people affected due to Vishnuprayag Dam Breakage - Reg
We wish to bring to your kind notice that on 16-06-2013, the sudden flood on Alaknanda River which washed away Lambagarh, Vinayak Chatti, Pandukeshwar, Govindghat, Pinoli ghat villages was a result of Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric Power Project built and operated by Jayprakash Group (also known as Jaypee Group). We, Vishnuprayag Dam Break affected People’s Group are villagers affected by the Jaypee Group’s Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric Power project dam breakage. We live downstream to the dam. On 16-06-2013 and 17-06-2013, the sudden flood which washed away homes, hotels, bridges, agricultural fields, forests etc in the villages of Lambagarh, Pandukeshwar, Govindghat, Vinayak Chatti, Pinola ghat etc is a result of Vishnuprayag Dam built by Jaypee group. Main reason behind the destruction is that the gates of the dam were not opened in time.
How it happened?
On 16 June, 2013 around 5 PM water level rose quite high than everyday increase. Around 10PM on 16-06-2013 the level increased so much that it created an atmosphere of fear and anxiety all around. Again around 11:30 PM when the generator in the Gurudwara at Govindghat on one bank and an electricity transformer on the other bank of the river got flooded, it became dark everywhere. Panic spread immediately. The water level increased to such an extent that it touched bridge near Gurudwara at Govindghat by then. Due to this the parking space got flooded. Land begun eroding and the vehicles parked there started floating in the flood water. At 4:30 AM on 17-06-2013, even the strong bridge built by PWD, which is the link to Hemkund Sahib, Valley of Flowers, Pulna and Bhyundar valley got washed away. Meanwhile water flooded Govindghat market. Land there started eroding and thus houses, hotels, shops, trees, parking place, Gurudwara buildings were found floating and washed away in the flood.
On the other bank towards Hemkund Sahib, Thousands of Pilgrims, local people and more than 1500 horses/ mules and their caretakers got stranded, with lives hanging on life and death line. On 17-06-2013, by 6 AM as the flood water level increased hotel, houses and agricultural fields got washed away due to large scale soil erosion. All these were replaced by large amount of muck and soil brought by the flood.
Vishnuprayag dam is the reason for Calamity:
We all we sat discussing about the sequence of events during the flood. Why did this happen? Never such incident occurred before. On 19 June, when few of our members who arrived after escaping from the flood from Lambagarh, Vinayak Chatti and other villages, they explained us whatever happened was a result of breakage of Jaypee’s Vishnuprayag dam. In order to know the facts, we went to Lambagarh barrage and found out what happened. On 16-06-2013 night the water flow increased then stopped then restarted around 2:30AM to 4:30AM, this time with a heavy flow of water towards Govindghat which brought the destruction.
The fact is that initially when the flood started, Jaypee Company’s staff have opened the gates of the dam and emptied the reservoir before closing them again. But when the flood water continued and started to fill up the reservoir again, they failed to open the gates this time as there was a heavy inflow of sediments and huge boulders which damaged the gate system, resulting in formation of a lake. The huge lake of 1.5km length formed took a ferocious form and starting with the dam broke everything on its way. This makes it clear that the destruction which occurred in our area was due to the bad intention, negligence of Jaypee company. So, our complete loss has to be repaid by Jaypee Company itself.
We request you to take administrative level action on following demands.
1. The Insurance of Vishnuprayag Dam, according to our knowledge as of now, is under Oriental Insurance Company. We demand that this amount should be blocked immediately. Complete compensation for the damage at the villages of Lambagarh, Pandukeshwar, Pinolaghat, Govindghat, Vinayak Chatti should be first paid by Jaypee group who own the Vishnuprayag dam.
2. The Safety work from Dam to Pinola ghat should be taken up by government according guidelines. The quality supervision should be given to villagers and an honorarium to be paid monthly for the same.
3. Loss of employment due to lack of Tourism should be completely compensated by Jaypee group.
4. No dam should be constructed above these villages from now on.
5. A criminal case should be lodged against Jaypee group for causing the heavy flood caused on 16 – 17 June, 2013
6. Jaypee Company has taken some land from villagers on lease/rent. All this land should be returned to villagers.
7. A high-level inspection and survey committee should visit the affected regions and record our pleadings in their report.
Today, our 25 families have lost everything. About 50 families have lost above 75% of their property. All Pandukeshwar panchayat dwellers have got affected due to loss or damage to Pasture lands, Agricultural fields, grazing grounds, dairy business, mule owners’ transport business, loss of mules’ life and other small businesses.
We request you to take quick action on our demands.