Home Site Map
Writings Home Page
 

Does Uttarakhand need another Big Dam?

A dam three times bigger than Tehri will be built at Pancheshwar.

Dr Nitin Pandey

27-May-2007
One assurance of the present Chief Minister, which was music to many was his statement given a few weeks ago that no new big dams would be built in Uttarakhand. The Tehri experience had been bad enough and the State heaved a sigh of relief at his declaration. However, his new statement on 27th May in Delhi on the sidelines of the Chief Ministers Conference of Power Sector, emphasizing the need for early completion of the Pancheshwar Dam came as a shocker. The Pancheshwar dam is 3 times bigger than Tehri and would cost 5 times as much to build. It means that either the State Government now agrees with the need for big dams or it considers Pancheshwar Dam to be a small dam?
Not many of us are familiar with the details of the proposed Pancheshwar Dam, so here is a brief background information of this project.

Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project:


Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project Map


The Pancheshwar Dam is a record busting 315 meter high Rock fill Dam being built on the River Mahakali, at the town of Pancheshwar in Champawat District. The Mahakali River forms a 230km boundary between India and Nepal so the project is an international one.
The agreement of this dam was signed between the two countries on 12th February 1996 and is known as The Indo-Nepal Mahakali Treaty. The treaty envisages basin development under the aegis of a binational Mahakali Commission. The commission would look after three things: (1) The Sharda Canal (2) The Tanakpur Barrage and (3) The Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. The first two already existed and the treaty formalized the division of water and electricity between the two countries. The last is what a lot of people on both sides of the border are worried about.
The treaty generated a lot of protests. Both in India and in Nepal, environmentalists, local villagers and anti-dam activists organized protests and agitations. In Nepal the treaty was seen a result of undue pressure exerted by India and US on the Royal Nepalese Government and a sell out to India. Pricing of electricity and ownership of unused waters were two big issues in Nepal. In a very unusual move clearly signifying the extreme discord in Nepal over the treaty, the Nepalese Parliament passed five amendments to the treaty after it had been signed by the two countries.
In Nov1999 a Joint Project Office was set up in Kathmandu. It prepared a Detailed Project Report, which was rejected by Nepal and the JPO itself was dissolved in 2002. In 2004 another Joint Group of Experts was setup and it held its first meeting in Dec 2004. A second meeting was due when political turmoil hit Nepal and the matter has been in a limbo since then. The Maoists in Nepal, who are now a part of the Government, are stoutly against the Dam.

Comparison with Tehri Dam:


Comparing the Pancheshwar Dam with Tehri Dam helps us visualize how massive the structure is. With a height of 315 meters, it will be the second highest dam in world; the highest being Rogun Dam in Russia at 335meters. Tehri Dam is 261 meters high.
At present prices it will cost a whooping Rs 21,780 Crores. This figure is likely to multiply at least 4 times if and when it is ready. Tehri cost a measly 4000 Crores.
The Dam will create a lake with a submerged area of134 sq.km; Tehri submerged 51.7sq.km. Of the 134 sq.km, 120sq.km is in Uttarakhand; only 14sq.km is Nepalese territory. Officially, 82 Indian villages and 33 Nepalese villages would be completely submerged and 11,361 families would be fully displaced. Tehri Dam submerged 33 villages and Tehri town and completely displaced only 5421 families. These figures are hotly contested by local NGO’s, who claim that once completed and functional, the Pancheshwar Dam will displace around 80,000 people.
The Mahakali River upstream from the Dam will form a lake up to Baluwakot. Sarju and Gori Ganga Rivers, draining into Mahakali will also be swollen substantially. Infact about 15kms of fertile Sarju plains will be completely submerged. Dry riverbeds around Pithoragarh will be full of lake water and one of the major fallouts of the submergence would be that connectivity to Pithoragarh would be undermined. Some NGO’s claim that infact the hill town of Pithoragarh may become an island!
Both Pancheshwar and Tehri Dams are in Zone 4 of Seismic Activity. However in the last 15yrs, over 10 earthquakes having a magnitude of over 5 have had their epicenter within a radius of 10kms around the Pancheshwar Dam. The maximum damage in an earthquake is at its epicenter. That makes the Pancheshwar Dam much more vulnerable to damage in an earthquake, than the Tehri Dam.
Proposed life of the Project is claimed to be 100yrs but according to Dr. Bidur Upadhaya, head of Meteorology Dept. at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, it is more likely that the lifespan of the Dam would be 25yrs given that 68 million tons of sediment is released by the hills around Mahakali into the river.
The purpose of this project is electricity production, generation of water for irrigation and flood control. It will produce 6480 MW of electricity, compared to the 2400 MW peak production at Tehri. Water for irrigation would benefit the farmers in UP and by storing water, floods in Bihar and UP will be reduced. So important is the aspect of flood control, that officials of Bihar and UP are a part of the expert group created for negotiations in 2004.

How will Uttarakhand benefit from this colossal structure? Besides the 12% free power as royalty, it will have a new lake to show tourists! 82 villages of Uttarakhand would be submerged completely to reduce the monsoon flooding of villages in Bihar. Perhaps the benefits of Pancheshwar Dam for Uttarakhand will be similar to the benefits of Tehri Dam. The Benefits for Uttarakhand from the Tehri Dam as detailed by the Ministry of Power, Government of India, in its Annual Report for 2005 -2006 are reproduced below:

BENEFITS FROM TEHRI HYDRO POWER COMPLEX:
  The benefits from the Tehri Hydro Power Complex are as under:
- Addition to the installed generating capacity in the northern Region : 2400 MW
- Annual energy availability (Peaking) : 6200 MU
- Irrigation (additional) : 2.70 Lac, ha.
- Stabilisation of existing irrigation : 6.04 Lac. Ha.v - 300 Cusecs (162 million gallons per day) of drinking water for Delhi which will meet the requirements of about 40 Lac. people.
- In addition, 200 Cusecs (108 million gallons per day) of drinking water for towns and villages of U.P. which will meet the requirement of 30 Lac. people.
- Integrated development of Garhwal region, including construction of a new hill station town with provision of all civic facilities; improved communication, education, health, tourism, development of horticulture, fisheries, and afforestation of the region.”

 


Do we want more such 'integrated development' or another new hill station at enormous environmental and human cost? The trauma of the “Tehri refugees” has still not ended, why would we want to create 80,000 more homeless people? The same report further mentions that the afforestation carried out to compensate the loss of Uttarakhand’s Forests, is not in Uttarakhand, but in Jhansi and Lalitpur Districts of UP!

Questions the State Government must answer:

  1. In October 2004 the Central Government had asked for Uttarakhand Government’s concurrence to the project. Was the concurrence given by the then Tiwari Government?
  2. Has the present Government reviewed the understandings reached between the UP Government and the Center regarding the project? Has the Detailed Project Report prepared by the Central Water Commission been reviewed by the Uttarakhand Government? In either has anything been found which is harmful to Uttarakhand’s interests?
  3. Does the present Government view the project as beneficial to the people of Uttarakhand?
    • If yes, then it must clearly spell out the benefits for the State from the Project. 12% free electricity is clearly an insufficient compensation for the huge environmental, social and human costs that will have to be borne by the State.
    • If no, then what steps has it taken to convey its unwillingness to the Center? No Central power project can progress in any state, without the cooperation of the State Government.
The Central Government has already spent Rs. 780.90 Crores over the last five years on the project. The project is now stuck because the present Nepalese Government has not agreed with the Detailed Project Report prepared by India. Hopefully, with the Maoists now in power in Nepal, the Mahakali Project will not go through. But we must remember that such a project exists in the files of the Government and we must ensure that it never materializes.


Get Updates Get SMS Updates
Add to Google Receive SMS Updates
Top

Please comment on the article



Your Name:
Your E mail:
Comments:

Abusive, inappropriate or offensive comments are likely to be edited or deleted.


Read comments

Date26-Oct-16
From: kamlesh singh mahara
hello friends how are uh all first of all I am very sad when I heard about puncheswar dam we don't want this project our area ,we have not learned anything from tehri mistake & this project will also displace us hame tehri k logo ke dard ko samjana hoga ,government will come and go but our village will never come back ,I don't want this kind of development which take the life of people I am not opposing any government but expressing my feeling I request to UK government to stop this project for the welfare of people we have already tehri dam we should see future of state uttarakhand is in seismic zone think about it people mai is project ka virodh karta hu friend apni awaj uthaoo aur prime minister ko letter liko ya cm ko aur apna uttarakhand bachao 9643600356 agar koi muje way bataye to mai iske liye hazir rahunga kamlesh Mahara ,berinag ,udiyari


Date30-Dec-15
From: This is precisely the inptroamt information I'd been searching for. Incredible blog. Very inspirational! Your posts are so good and also detailed. The links you come with are also very beneficial as well. Many thanks
This is precisely the inptroamt information I'd been searching for. Incredible blog. Very inspirational! Your posts are so good and also detailed. The links you come with are also very beneficial as well. Many thanks


Date08-Feb-15
From: neerajjoshi
a new dam is need for development in kumou


Date29-Sep-14
From: harish pathak
The project will not benificial for uttrakhand Instead of making such a big dam can't we make a channel of canals which will provide irrigation to the villages and small power projects on these canals to make them self sufficient for generating the required power for their use. In this way instead of migrating 80,000 people, we can stop migration of people from hills in search of employment and can increase greenery in Uttarakhand.


Date29-Sep-14
From: harish pathak
The project will not benificial for uttrakhand Instead of making such a big dam can't we make a channel of canals which will provide irrigation to the villages and small power projects on these canals to make them self sufficient for generating the required power for their use. In this way instead of migrating 80,000 people, we can stop migration of people from hills in search of employment and can increase greenery in Uttarakhand.


Date15-Sep-14
From: Ravi Joshi
Few Questions ???? Can we know the villages which will be submerged / impacted by this development of dam. Also will there be an impact to the prolonged tankpur jauljibi road development? Will there be road development which will reduce the time to reach pithoragarh from tanakpur decrease. Any link or user which can provide an answer to the above queries.


Date21-Aug-14
From: Amit singh bohra
The project will benificial for rest of country or state not for the native and local residents villagers,But the reheblitetion should appropriate and this should be the first priority for govt.i am also from the area that will affected by project if carried on...


Date21-Aug-14
From: Amit singh bohra
The project will benificial for rest of country or state not for the native and local residents villagers,But the reheblitetion should appropriate and this should be the first priority for govt.i am also from the area that will affected by project if carried on...


Date07-Aug-14
From: vimal
Instead of making such a big dam can't we make a channel of canals which will provide irrigation to the villages and small power projects on these canals to make them self sufficient for generating the required power for their use. In this way instead of migrating 80,000 people, we can stop migration of people from hills in search of employment and can increase greenery in Uttarakhand.


Date27-Dec-13
From: hayat singh ranswal
my name is hayat singh ranswal my village seem chukaa ,The project will benefit from what we are familiar village,The people on the river that teasing out themSo here is whether the government can become Svijherland,When will they realize that we are waiting for that day, HAYAT SINGH RANSWAL village baman gaaw seem chuka post office riyansi disttic champawat uttranchal 26 25 23 mob no 9910261948


Date09-Jan-13
From: mahesh singh bartwal
badrinath tampale


Date07-Nov-12
From: Hira Singh Kunwar
It is the best income source for UK. You are, therefore humbly requested to kindly menssion the name of villages and area, which will be merged in this project. With regards, (Hira Singh Kunwar)


Date23-Jun-12
From: hayat singh
tehri daam , it is the pride of uttranchal , this is our new identify hayat singh ranswal uttarchal I am now living ghaziabad jai uttrachal


Date18-Feb-12
From: hayat singh ranswal
it's really nice that the biggest dam in asia would be in uttrakhand.my family is keeping seem ,Pancheswr the dam feign said we will,The benefit was to daam Tahri, we also have what they benifit ,Tahri the daam has changed the lives of the people in there, what Pancheswr daam , we will change the lives of people,We will say HAYAT SINGH RANSWAL VILLGAGE SEEM P.O RIYANSI DISTTIC CHAMPAWAT, It is all PEOPE message


Date22-Sep-10
From: Deepak bhatt
I think the work on Pancheswar must go on full swing.I am The resident of that palce which will be effected by the dam . We should take the example from tehri people now days they are more developed they got new roads,job opportunities,better infrastcture. We should not oppose any thing just because we want to oppose. People those opposing this project are not the wellwisher of uttrakhand. But the reheblitetion should appropriate and this should be the first priority for govt. My all the best wishess are with The Great Pancheswar.


Date22-Sep-10
From: Deepak bhatt
I think the work on Pancheswar must go on full swing.I am The resident of that palce which will be effected by the dam . We should take the example from tehri people now days they are more developed they got new roads,job opportunities,better infrastcture. We should not oppose any thing just because we want to oppose. People those opposing this project are not the wellwisher of uttrakhand. But the reheblitetion should appropriate and this should be the first priority for govt. My all the best wishess are with The Great Pancheswar.


Date22-Sep-10
From: Deepak bhatt
I think the work on Pancheswar must go on full swing.I am The resident of that palce which will be effected by the dam . We should take the example from tehri people now days they are more developed they got new roads,job opportunities,better infrastcture. We should not oppose any thing just because we want to oppose. People those opposing this project are not the wellwisher of uttrakhand. But the reheblitetion should appropriate and this should be the first priority for govt. My all the best wishess are with The Great Pancheswar.


Date22-Sep-10
From: Deepak bhatt
I think the work on Pancheswar must go on full swing.I am The resident of that palce which will be effected by the dam . We should take the example from tehri people now days they are more developed they got new roads,job opportunities,better infrastcture. We should not oppose any thing just because we want to oppose. People those opposing this project are not the wellwisher of uttrakhand. But the reheblitetion should appropriate and this should be the first priority for govt. My all the best wishess are with The Great Pancheswar.


Date28-Jul-10
From: Bizeth Banerjee
Keep up the good work!! I was looking for some reference and found this. Hope to join your movement one of these months, as soon as I get some resting space!


Date28-Jul-10
From: D.C.pandey
Dear pandeyji I hv seen ur article i think pancheshwar dam which was my dream from childhood is necessary for us specially resident of uttarkhand. I am resident of vill Kotla near Gumdesh merely 30 km from pancheshwer this year also seen dam site people says the dam will not be constructed by now as the Nepal Govt is demanded 50% electricity free pl let me know actually position where there is chance to complete the dam if yes how many villege will be effected


Date04-Jul-10
From: ankur verma
it's really nice that the biggest dam in asia would be in uttrakhand.can u plz compare this data 2 bhakhara nangal dam.bdy good info.


Date06-Jun-10
From: Deepak
information is this post is really good. at the momemt I don't know what you ppl are plannig but I would really like to contribute in stoping implementing such stupid dam plan. you out govet relly wanna develop this are we should improve transpotation and develop this are as a tourist spot, dam is not the only way. for electricity and all we can have small dams.


Date06-Jun-10
From: Deepak
information is this post is really good. at the momemt I don't know what you ppl are plannig but I would really like to contribute in stoping implementing such stupid dam plan. you out govet relly wanna develop this are we should improve transpotation and develop this are as a tourist spot, dam is not the only way. for electricity and all we can have small dams.


Date21-Apr-10
From: Lt.Col.(Retd)JC JOSHI
Adarniy Bandhu, DEEP CHAND JI,14FEB ki bethak mein jab prastav rakha gaya to aam sahmati bani ya nahin.Agar han, to agli bethak kab aur kahan hogi.Ish SAP JAGRITI ki 24 Priority ko jan jan tak keshe pahuchaya jay taki ane wale chunao ke liye prasth bhumi taiyar ki ja sake.Congress Party ko har bar yad dilana hai ki unhone abhitak hamara kam nahin kiya. Agar aisha hi unka rawaiya raha to hamko majboor hokar JANHIT PARTY OF UTTARAKHAND KA SUTRAPAT KARNA HOGA AUR BJP TATHA CONGRESS DONON BHI UTTARAKHAND SE BAHAR.KRIPAYA BATAYEN KI MERI VICHAR DHARA SAHI HAI YA NAHI.--PRANAM


Date04-Mar-10
From: Bharat Bahadur Kunwar
in the name of development we are destroying the nature. in recent past the flood in bihar is because of such dams. some comments suggest it will be a record and we should proud of the dam.we are indian, I am proud of that and i don't want to live in switzerland. what about the 80000 people and i am one of them. "hame pahle se hi gaurav hai ki ham Devbhoomi me rahte hain. Par bhoomi hi nahi rahegi to ham kispe garva karenge".


Date14-Feb-10
From: Deep Chand
Dam k virodh main 13 feb 10 kojhulaghaat main pithoragarh se parvatiya kisan sabha ki local logon se meeting hui hai. next program liya jaana hai. aap ki is report ko bathak main rakha gaya tha.


Date12-Feb-10
From: manoj kumar suteri
Its a great opportunity not only for the people of kumaoun while people of whole uttarakhand.This project will make our state able to withstand with other developed states.It will surely make India feel proud as its the 2nd highest dam in all over world and strengthn the Indian infrastructure.But the government's main focus should be for the people who are goin to be replaced because of this huge project.Proper compansation and priorities should be kept in mind for replacing ones.


Date26-Jan-10
From: Lt. Col.(Retd) jc joshi
The Dam will come up as the Central Govt. is interested.In order to rehabilitate displaced people and to make Uttarakhand(UK) look like Switzerland of the East,Strategic Action Plan(SAP)JAGRITI was submitted to the state govt.The plan has 24 Priorities.Priority ONE is to provide all India broad gauge railway connectivity upto BLOCK HQs.PRIORITY TWO is for Egovernance.PRIORITY THREE to build an International Airport at Pithoragarh to be used as Advanced Air Base in case of hostilities.These three PRIORITY are to be completed by 2012 election to UK assembly, to determine whom to give Gaddy.If you agree then reply to mobilise the public opinion in favour of SAP JAGRITI. Pranam daju


Date07-Nov-09
From: Anand Prakash
It is really unfortunate that we are opposing such a nice project which will bring revolution in our life.Mighty River Mahakali/Sharda has great potential & we are not harnessing it just in the name of ENVIRONMENT.All developed countries has made such big Dams & now they are trying to stop India to harness its Natural Resource given by the ALMIGHTY. In my opinion we must build this project as early as possible.We have already wasted much of our ECO-FRIENDLY natural Resource & we are Indian first,any thing after ward.Environmental issues can be well taken care of in a suitable way but we should not stop the progress of NATION & HUMANITY at large Anand Prakash Former Engineer in Chief Department of Irrigation, UTTAR PRADESH


Date11-Aug-09
From: gautam joshi
please do not even think of impementing such a project ,cause the number of lives which will be displaced cannot be judged. it will also spoil the natural beeauty of the place .rather the government should focus on small dams . we have already seen the tehri disaster ..plspls dont do it again


Date16-Mar-09
From: kishan chand rajan
this dam is times need for water and electricity presently


Date18-Dec-08
From: Arvind Singh Chand
To protect one population of our country from flooding how can submerge the lives and dreams of 115 Villages. Tehri has already shown the misery of hills and doing it again in such an eco-fragile zone will be like - learning no lessons from our previous mistakes.And we have some better options ahead after 123 being signed now.


Date15-Dec-08
From: Praveen Bhatt
this is not the isuue of dams, electricity or somethig else this is matter of pahar or paharwasis and when paharwasis walk up all policy makers goes right way. keep up sir Praveen 09412996386


Date14-Nov-08
From: bckmishra
There is no life without water and power.Hence development of power projects with storage facility is a must.


Date05-Aug-08
From: asha pandey
Uttarakhand is not in a state to effort the ecological harm caused by such big dams.... its better to go for mini hydro power projects....to cope up various environmental maladies


Date03-Aug-08
From: raman
what the hell has done by tehri dam???? the area for which GANGA River has stopped is completely dried out... government is playing with the sentiments of hindus.. how dare one to stop GANGA... the consequenses will be right in front of each one that GANGA will take revenge over that...


Date26-Jul-08
From: Dr.Vishnu Sarkar
yadi aisa hi hota raha to ek din hamara uttarakhand shayad pure hindustan ko roshni de par khud zarur kahin anjane andhere main kho jaega. "Vikas itihas main judana chahiye,itihas mitakar vikas karna apani sanskriti aur sabhyata ke sath ek ghinona mazak hai."aisa vikas hamara astitva bachae ya na bachae use mitane ka ek auzar zarur hai.


Date28-Jun-08
From: harisemalty
pandey bhai sab big dam kya hamre log to GD agrwal jaise log astha ke naam par logon ko bhadkate hai aur hamara c.minister itna mahan ki turant dam ka karya rok deta hai isliye chinta ki baat nahi aisa hi chalta raha to hum jaha the wahi rahenge yani hotel me bartan manjte


Date21-May-08
From: Aniruddha Khanwalkar
As this project is not going to materalize now for which maoist are to be blamed, but who will answer about the huge loss incurred in terms of governmental fund of rupees 780 crore, who will answer to it. This a big question in front of all of us as we should seek answers from our loyal polititians about them.


Date24-Jul-07
From: rajendra kandari
when i hear uttarakhand will get benefit from the project like tehri dam and we will get lot of electrisity from the projects. but when i went to my native place Garhwal their i find no electrisity in the village.


Date16-Jun-07
From: Renu
When will our Government give up uprrooting ppl to make dams? Plz keep up the gud fight!




Top