Benefits of big dams beyond doubt

THIS has reference to Punyapriya Dasgupta’s article “Time to liberate rivers” (May 27). A multipurpose dam has to be perforce constructed to store the run-off, primarily for irrigation and power generation. Flood control, ground water recharge, tourism and pisciculture are the other benefits.

The height of the dam for this purpose is decided by the topography of the hills. For instance, a 92-m dam across the Narmada river in Khandwa district at Indira Sagar Project could store more water than at 165.0 m in the high Bhakra or Tehri dam project.

Insufficient handling of rehabilitation of displaced families is the fault of the state government and not that of the dam. The problem of silting of reservoirs can be tackled if a number of storage dams are constructed in series all along the flowing river to ensure equal distribution of silt; the work of dam construction should start from the upstream reaches.


Small dams are not preferred because they do not store water or generate power in direct proportion to the height. The storage capacity of a 100-ft high dam may be twice the capacity of a 600-ft high dam. Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake has a small dam; the Chandigarh Administration is constantly grappling with the problem of desilting. So the immense benefits of big dams are beyond doubt. Imagine the pollution and social costs created by a 1500-MW thermal power plant to substitute the Bhakra or Tehri dam projects.

In China, engineers have constructed the 165.0-m Three Gorges dam across the Yangtze river in just seven years to generate 18,200 MW of power (three-fourth of the installed capacity of all the thermal power plants of NTPC or seven times the capacity of NHPC plants). We, however, continue to debate on the Narmada dam height for over 50 years!

RAM NIWAS MALIK, Engineer-in-Chief (retd) Panchkula

Pertinent question

Commenting on the outcome of the HCS (Judicial) examination, the editorial “Futile Search” (May 30) rightly raised a pertinent question. Only 39 out of 2,450 candidates could make the grade for 31 posts. There is another aspect to it. I would call it not a futile search but a largely fruitful one in the sense that only deserving candidates will get selected.

A few years back, the outcome was more or less the same. Thus, there is at least one area in which excellence is being maintained unlike in the HPSC selections in which everyone with clout gets plum posts.

These posts had initially been referred to the HPSC but were later withdrawn from its purview and referred to the High Court so that it could fill them through its own process. If merit can be ensured in the HCS (Judicial) exam, why not in the HPSC exam?


Let’s go swadeshi

Nowadays, film stars charge huge remuneration for brief appearances on the stage. Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament Jaya Pradha’s hefty honorarium for her dance recital at the Taj Mahal (courtesy the Uttar Pradesh government) is common knowledge.

Another instance is of Aishwarya Rai. She charged a whopping Rs 3 crore for a five-minute stage appearance and an overall expenditure of Rs 29 crore for a 10-minute extravaganza in Melbourne’s Commonwealth Games. She claims that she is always available to serve the country!

What is the purpose of these mindless extravaganzas? Our bhangra and garba dancers are not only swadeshi but also entertaining; they are ready to perform free of cost. The huge fee charged by film stars could be given to various fund-starved sports federations, for creating the infrastructure and nurturing young talent for future competitions.

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula


Terror in Srinagar

The recent terrorist attack on the Congress rally in Srinagar is most deplorable. It is really surprising how the extremists were successful in their designs soon after the inhuman Doda killings.

We agree with the editorial “Terror strikes again” that the so-called Jihadi Council and its affiliates cannot pursue their destructive agenda without the support of the Pakistan Government. So Pakistan should be held squarely responsible for the terrorism in Kashmir.

No talks on the Kashmir problem should be held either with Pakistan or the Hurriyat until and unless Pakistan fulfils its promise of stopping the cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW (Australia)

Focus on Communists

I refer to Amulya Ganguli’s article “Beyond the rhetoric”. I disagree with his news on the Communist movement. The Communists may be a marginal force in national politics but after the Congress and the BJP, they form the largest group in the Lok Sabha. The UPA government at the Centre cannot run without their support.

The Communists have come to symbolise the hopes and aspirations of the have-nots in India though all the poor people haven’t yet become a part of the Communist movement. They have created a political platform for the ordinary people in the form of different Left parties.

In recent times, the Communists are becoming dearer to common people because of their consistent political stand on minimum wages, rural development and women’s rights. They have emerged as a bulwark against imperialism.


Sorry, lawyers

The Tribune regrets publication of the letter headlined “Lawyers in India” in these columns on June 1, 2006, as the writer has made uncalled for remarks against the legal fraternity. The newspaper dissociates itself totally from the views contained in the letter, which was published inadvertently. Needless to say, The Tribune holds the legal profession in high esteem. — Editor


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