Tehri Dam Project
Tehri Dam is constructed on the Ganga River below the confluence of its two main tributaries, Bhagirathi and Bhilangana River in the hill district of Uttaranchal. It is the world’s fifth and Asia’s largest multidimensional dam project. The dam was cleared by India’s planning commission in 1972, though the construction work was initiated by the irrigation department of the U.P. in April 1978.
Development of work was not satisfactory in the initial phase, so Tehri Hydel Dam Corporation (THDC) was constituted in 1989, and construction work was taken over by the Union Government of India, and THDC was authorized to complete the project. But the dam has been not completed yet due to continuous protest and opposition from local people, environmentalists, and activists like Sunderlal Bahuguna on safety issues since the start of the project. The anti-Tehri committee moved a writ petition on the right to life under article 21 of the Constitution in November 1985, The objection to the project and construction work both continued till Dec. 25, 1989, when the construction work was suddenly suspended due to the fast undertaken by Sunderlal Bahuguna. But the construction work started again due to the breaking of fast by him at the persuasion of the Prime Minister.
The main objections to the Project are:
(i) The uprooting of more than one lakh people from their homes. Only a very small percentage of the population displaced has been resettled so far.
(ii) The dam will submerge 487 sq. km. of the area in the Bhagirathi valley. It will cause an ecological disaster. several species of animals and plants will perish to total destruction of their natural habitat.
(iii) The dam lies on the epicenter tract of the dangerous Mahar Tear Fault lying at the depth of 7.5 km. beneath the proposed dam. Moreover, the Himalayan belt is itself seismic active resulting in eight major earthquakes.
(iv) Experts believe that the adjacent hill cannot withstand any major earthquake and, thus, if the hillside collapses, the result will be as bad as if the dam collapsed.
But according to the Government, this dam has many benefits. It will increase about 2400 MW power capacity in Northern Zone. The dam will provide water for irrigation even during the dry season. About 60 lakh residents of Delhi and U.P. will get drinking water. During the monsoon, extra water can be stored and the states of U.P., Bengal, and Bihar can be saved from the flood.