Call to declare Spiti, Chenab no-go areas for power project

SHIMLA: Environmentalists and various groups on Wednesday urged the state government to declare the Chenab and Spiti as free-flowing wild rivers, which should be the no-go area for hydropower projects along the lines of the Tirthan.

Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 21

Environmentalists and various groups on Wednesday urged the state government to declare the Chenab and Spiti as free-flowing wild rivers, which should be the no-go area for hydropower projects along the lines of the Tirthan.

A 10-point memorandum was submitted by community and citizens groups to Additional Chief Secretary (Environment) Manisha Nanda, seeking protection of riverine ecology against the increasing threat of dams, hydropower projects, uncontrolled tourism, urbanisation and industrial pollution. The initiative marks the Day of Action for Rivers across the world.

“To protect smaller streams on which communities depend for irrigation, there is need to control sand mining and small hydropower project construction as well as protect forests with the involvement of communities,” urged Sumit Mahar and Manshi Asher from the Himdhara Collective.

The memorandum has been endorsed by the Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur, Jagori Grameen, Kangra, Chamba Rediscovered and Saal Ghati Bachao Sangharsh Morcha, Chamba, SUTRA, Solan, Himalaya Bachao Samiti and Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Chamba, Samgh Foundation, Kullu, Save Lahaul Spiti, Keylong-Spiti Civil Society, Kaza, Jispa Bandh Sangharsh Samiti, Darcha, Lara-Sumata Sangharsh Samiti, Tabo, Hangrang Ghati Sangharsh Samiti, Nako, Satluj Bachao Jivan Bachao Abhiyan Samiti, Rampur, Himdhara Environment Research and Action and Collective and Himachal Van Adhikar Manch.

These organisations have demanded that the State Environment Department carry out regional consultations and prepare action plans for each of the river basins with the involvement of local community representatives, citizens groups, environmentalists and experts along with chosen government departments.

They demanded that violators should be booked for dumping industrial effluents in rivers. They demanded a special attention to monitor and regulate the industrial pollution in Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh and Paonta Sahib. Common Effluent Treatment Plants have failed miserably and an effort needs to be made to monitor pollution at the source as well as treat the effluents there, they demanded.

They demanded the protection of small streams and tributaries. Some smaller streams and tributaries of the major river basins need to be marked for their fragility.

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