NGOs seek moratorium on dams, hydro power projects

SHIMLA: Proposing a pro-conservation and pro-people development model for Himachal Pradesh as well as the entire Himalayan region, the Himalaya Niti Abhiyaan (HNA) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a green development package for Himachal instead of special industrial package being sought by everyone.

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17

Proposing a pro-conservation and pro-people development model for Himachal Pradesh as well as the entire Himalayan region, the Himalaya Niti Abhiyaan (HNA) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a green development package for Himachal instead of special industrial package being sought by everyone.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister on the eve of his visit to Himachal tomorrow, several NGOs under the aegis of Himalaya Niti Abhiyaan and working in the sphere of environment protection have sought moratorium on dams and mega hydro electric projects. “We strongly advocate a green development package for the state as Himachal needs green development package instead of industrial package as generally sought by everyone,” urged Guman Singh, coordinator of the HNA.

Singh said there was need to promote responsible tourism operation, incentivize agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture and implementation of the Forest Right Act. “There is need to promote railway network and ropeways instead of four-lane projects as these will lead to deforestation, displacement, cutting of mountains and triggering landslides and soil erosion,” he said.

“The negative impacts of development framework have forced the people of Himalayas, particularly of Himachal Pradesh, to oppose mega dams and hydro electric projects, mega commercial and development projects such as mining for cement, mega infrastructure particularly unplanned urbanisation and four-lane road projects, SEZ which are affecting the eco system of the region,” he said. He said urgent steps were needed to avert the negative impact emanating from dams, mega hydro power projects, cement plants and four-laning projects.

He said the impacts of such haphazard development projects conceived without taking into consideration the fact that the entire Himalayan region is ecologically very fragile was increasingly affecting the environment with very visible impacts effects of climate change coming to the fore. “What is even worse that these projects are conceived and implemented alienating local communities as well as causing displacement and bringing disaster to them with no benefits accruing to the affected people,” said Guman Singh.

The HNA said such development projects have reported high negative impact on local eco system, environment, river system, forest, triggered landslides, increased erratic weather pattern and negatively impacted agriculture and horticulture.

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