Environment

GANGA – THE DISAPPEARING RIVER

GANGA – THE DISAPPEARING RIVER

Destroying the last existing pristine stretch from Uttarkashi to Gangotri.

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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4 thoughts on “GANGA – THE DISAPPEARING RIVER”

  1. Matter is composed and provided by Arya vihar, Uttarkashi
    GANGA – THE DISAPPEARING RIVER

    Destroying the last existing pristine stretch from Uttarkashi to Gangotri.

    Facts and Information – 2008

    SAVE THE GANGA: AN APPEAL
    GANGA ĀHVAAN

    CONTACT ADDRESS

    MR. M.C.MEHTA
    Tel – 011-41756519

    DR.G.D.AGRAWAL
    Tel – 01374-222937

    PRIYA PATEL, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 9756623826

    DR. MEETA KHILNANI
    Tel – 9414100744

    CHANDAN SINGH RANA, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 9410177490

    BHANU PRAKASH BHANDARI, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 01374236221

    MADAN RAWAT, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 01374236422

    MAHESHWARI, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 01374-223735

    HEMANT DHYANI, Delhi
    Tel- 9953585922

    What the Government intends to do?
    Today the government is in the process of building a cascade of dams along the Ganga, commencing near her source in the pristine Himalayas at Gangotri. These projects will join the Tehri dam, and other dams right up to Haridwar.
    Hence the entire stretch of the Ganga – from Gangotri to Haridwar is in fact a series of dams.

    What does it entail?
    These projects entail sheer destruction of the Himalayas through blasting, drilling and pulling down mountain slopes in the process of building tunnels and powerhouses. It involves cutting forests, trees, dirtying a pristine and untouched portion of our mountains and scarring an entire valley permanently. Finally since the projects are consecutive it entails pushing an entire river underground through dark, sunless tunnels without a break.
    The latest projects, that need to be stopped immediately are?
    1.Bhairon Ghati I – under consideration (just 9km from Gangotri)
    2.Bhairon Ghati II – under consideration (directly following the above)
    3.Loharinag –Pala – construction started
    4.Pala – Maneri – about to start (directly after the above)

    What will be left of the Ganga?
    Nothing!! In the valley of her origin the Ganga will literally become non-existent. These projects entail diverting almost the entire flow of the river through tunnels drilled through the Himalayas. What is left is a dry river bed, with perhaps a small stream which is barely sufficient to wet the ankles. This is basically 2-3 cumecs of water, the amount stipulated in the ‘Environmental impact assessment’ as the minimum to be released. Practically what one sees is a narrow, shallow stream with fungal blooms at places, and this sorry flow is supposed to be the mighty, the Divine ‘Ganga river’.
    THE FULL GANGA BEFORE MANERI DAM
    A VANISHED GANGA AFTER MANERI DAM
    Retreat of the Gangotri glacier, Indian Himalayas

    Will the Ganga survive this onslaught of ‘development’?
    The Gangotri glacier, 30.2 km long, is one of the largest Himalayan glaciers. It has been reported to be retreating at an alarming rate of 23 m/per year. It has been predicted that by 2030 the glacier could disappear. Heavy machinery activities in the eco-fragile Himalayan region so close to the source of the glacier is only going to increase the rate of retreat according to glaciologists.

    What do the environmentalists say?
    The WWF reports that the Ganga is one of the ‘Top ten rivers at Risk’ world wide. So are the Himalayas in the top 12 endagered places on the earth. Through these projects, we inflict disastrous damage on both these, at one go.

    What do these projects mean locally?
    If one thought that these projects bring material prosperity locally, one is entirely mistaken. So far there are widespread reports of –
    •Loss of water sources – entire villages have lost drinking water.
    •Cracks in houses from blasting. (This is a zone 5 area having highest probability of earthquakes in India.) Such houses become extremely unsafe for people living in earthquake prone areas.
    •Loss of land and hence loss of livelihood and income.
    •Loss of grazing land and forests on which the mountain folk heavily depend.
    •Loss of livelihood through tourism – which is definitely going to suffer immensely through loss of the Ganga, landslides and general destruction of natural beauty.
    •Loss of local culture which centers around the Ganga.
    •Hunting of wildlife that come down the slopes in winter, by dam workers.
    Do these projects provide employment?
    It is clearly admitted in the project reports that many job openings are not anticipated. In fact once the dam is functional very few personnel are needed. Example Maneri dam I operational since 20 years employs just 70 people. (population of district is 3 lakhs)
    Even in the temporary construction phase, reports via RTI state a number of 70-100 people working generally on a temporary basis as labour, contractor etc.
    In fact looking at the long term one can see that these projects have lessened job opportunities, independence, natural resources and overall has impoverished the area. The poor just get poorer.

    Ethics of the construction companies?
    So far although there is photographic evidence of muck freely being dumped in the Ganga, the N.T.P.C. company that is working in the area replied to a query via RTI that ‘no muck was being disposed in the Ganga.’
    They also absolutely deny that blasting by them is creating cracks in houses although people from 6 villages on both sides of the valley have reported houses shaking, cracks etc. Hence they assume no responsibility. All examinations in this regard so far have been conducted by agencies employed by themselves, hence they can hardly be termed unbiased.
    Local labour employed by them freely admitted to cutting forest wood for fuel and using the forest, river etc. for toilet purposes, although they are committed not to allow these things.
    During work carried out by ‘Uttaranchal Jal Vidyut Nigam’, cement was dumped into the river for 5 years. Cement also got deposited in the fields of the local villagers making them barren.
    The companies did not reply to queries by RTI and are obviously not keen to share information. No documents were provided to the locals in Hindi.
    Are these projects feasible?
    The already existent Maneri dam 1 of just 90 MW’s produces barely 50% of its capacity since the last ten years as reported via an RTI query. Reasons stated by the U.J.V.N. are less water in the Bhagirathi in winter, and too much silt in monsoons. These 4 projects planned upstream of Uttarkashi are cumulatively more than 1000 MW’s. How are they supposed to run?
    With the rapidly retreating glaciers, global warming etc. how can these projects sustain themselves in the long term?

    The Unique River?
    The Ganga is famous for her self purifying properties. Traditionally it is a known fact that Ganga water can be stored for any length of time without decay, while other waters would decay if similarly stored. Scientific studies corroborate this fact. Perhaps she is the only river of her kind in the world.

    Is the unique Ganga water still Ganga water?
    NO. These projects admit that water temperature will rise, flow rate decrease, flora and fauna will be destroyed. The water itself does not flow through natural Himalayan rock, but through cemented tunnels. Already there is evidence of the companies dumping pure cement into the river, dumping muck and other wastes into the water. Hence the qualities of Ganga water stand to be destroyed right at the source – thereby in effect destroying the entire length of the river.

    An agreement almost 100 years old being ignored?
    Almost a century back when the British were planning to check the flow of the Ganga at Haridwar, Madan Mohan Malviya and some kings, the 4 Shankaracharyas and the public united in protest. The British relented. Chief Sec. of the United Provinces, I.C.S., R.Burns passed order no 1002 on 20-4-1917 to ‘maintain a free flow of the Ganga.’ The spiritual traditions that even an alien govt. respected, today our ‘own’ leaders threaten to violate.

    The heavenly River –
    In the Gita, whe

    n describing his eminent manifestations Krishna declares, “Among the water sources, I am the Ganga.”
    Swami Vivekananda said – ‘The Gita and the Ganga constitute the Hinduism of the Hindus’..
    From birth to death a billion people crave the drop of her waters on their lips.
    Even people from foreign lands scatter their ashes in her flow and consider themselves blessed.
    The undisputable self-evident fact of the position of the Ganga in our existence is being completely ignored.

    The final blow –
    When the EIA reports state that no monument of historical, religious or archaeological value are being affected by the various projects in the area – it stupendously omits the mightiest of all symbols, the essence of all worship, the most ancient, historical of all traditions – the Ganga herself. Such an omission is too great a blunder, too great an insult to the entire country to let pass unchallenged.

    A Nation without pride –
    Letting the Ganga disappear, aiding in the destruction of her qualities and flow reveals a tremendous disrespect to the past of our country, considering the generations who have worshipped her as Mother and Goddess, to the present Indians who yet do – and to the future India whom we are depriving of their national and spiritual heritage.

    Call of the Ganga- ‘The ahvaan’-
    A few minutes of your time and a little effort on your part could help save the ‘Ganga’ from further damage. Write a letter with full contact details to
    C-103, Shastri Nagar, Jodhpur
    Or email to meetavk@ hotmail.com

    Tear this page out, fill out details and send –

    SENDER NAME –
    ADD –

    CONTACT NO –
    EMAIL –

    ‘A free flowing Ganga is an essential part of my country, our culture and our heritage. I strongly protest the tunneling and destruction of this flow for the production of hydro-power or for any other reason.
    We have inherited a clean environment, rich flowing rivers and an incredible culture from our forefathers. Conscience demands that we leave it intact for the coming generations of our country.
    Mere consumption cannot be the final goal of our ‘development’ process. Hence as a citizen of this country I demand that the Ganga be left free and untampered in her course from Gangotri to the plains.’

    NOTICE –
    Dr.Agrawal, a retired professor of IIT Kanpur has taken the decision to go on a fast unto death, commencing on June 13th ’08 to oppose the hydro projects upstream of Uttarkashi. His letter of intent is attached.
    Matter is composed and provided by Arya vihar, Uttarkashi

  2. Matter is composed and provided by Arya vihar, Uttarkashi
    GANGA – THE DISAPPEARING RIVER

    Destroying the last existing pristine stretch from Uttarkashi to Gangotri.

    Facts and Information – 2008

    SAVE THE GANGA: AN APPEAL
    GANGA ĀHVAAN

    CONTACT ADDRESS

    MR. M.C.MEHTA
    Tel – 011-41756519

    DR.G.D.AGRAWAL
    Tel – 01374-222937

    PRIYA PATEL, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 9756623826

    DR. MEETA KHILNANI
    Tel – 9414100744

    CHANDAN SINGH RANA, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 9410177490

    BHANU PRAKASH BHANDARI, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 01374236221

    MADAN RAWAT, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 01374236422

    MAHESHWARI, Uttarkashi
    Tel- 01374-223735

    HEMANT DHYANI, Delhi
    Tel- 9953585922

    What the Government intends to do?
    Today the government is in the process of building a cascade of dams along the Ganga, commencing near her source in the pristine Himalayas at Gangotri. These projects will join the Tehri dam, and other dams right up to Haridwar.
    Hence the entire stretch of the Ganga – from Gangotri to Haridwar is in fact a series of dams.

    What does it entail?
    These projects entail sheer destruction of the Himalayas through blasting, drilling and pulling down mountain slopes in the process of building tunnels and powerhouses. It involves cutting forests, trees, dirtying a pristine and untouched portion of our mountains and scarring an entire valley permanently. Finally since the projects are consecutive it entails pushing an entire river underground through dark, sunless tunnels without a break.
    The latest projects, that need to be stopped immediately are?
    1. Bhairon Ghati I – under consideration (just 9km from Gangotri)
    2. Bhairon Ghati II – under consideration (directly following the above)
    3. Loharinag –Pala – construction started
    4. Pala – Maneri – about to start (directly after the above)

    What will be left of the Ganga?
    Nothing!! In the valley of her origin the Ganga will literally become non-existent. These projects entail diverting almost the entire flow of the river through tunnels drilled through the Himalayas. What is left is a dry river bed, with perhaps a small stream which is barely sufficient to wet the ankles. This is basically 2-3 cumecs of water, the amount stipulated in the ‘Environmental impact assessment’ as the minimum to be released. Practically what one sees is a narrow, shallow stream with fungal blooms at places, and this sorry flow is supposed to be the mighty, the Divine ‘Ganga river’.
    THE FULL GANGA BEFORE MANERI DAM
    A VANISHED GANGA AFTER MANERI DAM
    Retreat of the Gangotri glacier, Indian Himalayas

    Will the Ganga survive this onslaught of ‘development’?
    The Gangotri glacier, 30.2 km long, is one of the largest Himalayan glaciers. It has been reported to be retreating at an alarming rate of 23 m/per year. It has been predicted that by 2030 the glacier could disappear. Heavy machinery activities in the eco-fragile Himalayan region so close to the source of the glacier is only going to increase the rate of retreat according to glaciologists.

    What do the environmentalists say?
    The WWF reports that the Ganga is one of the ‘Top ten rivers at Risk’ world wide. So are the Himalayas in the top 12 endagered places on the earth. Through these projects, we inflict disastrous damage on both these, at one go.

    What do these projects mean locally?
    If one thought that these projects bring material prosperity locally, one is entirely mistaken. So far there are widespread reports of –
    • Loss of water sources – entire villages have lost drinking water.
    • Cracks in houses from blasting. (This is a zone 5 area having highest probability of earthquakes in India.) Such houses become extremely unsafe for people living in earthquake prone areas.
    • Loss of land and hence loss of livelihood and income.
    • Loss of grazing land and forests on which the mountain folk heavily depend.
    • Loss of livelihood through tourism – which is definitely going to suffer immensely through loss of the Ganga, landslides and general destruction of natural beauty.
    • Loss of local culture which centers around the Ganga.
    • Hunting of wildlife that come down the slopes in winter, by dam workers.
    Do these projects provide employment?
    It is clearly admitted in the project reports that many job openings are not anticipated. In fact once the dam is functional very few personnel are needed. Example Maneri dam I operational since 20 years employs just 70 people. (population of district is 3 lakhs)
    Even in the temporary construction phase, reports via RTI state a number of 70-100 people working generally on a temporary basis as labour, contractor etc.
    In fact looking at the long term one can see that these projects have lessened job opportunities, independence, natural resources and overall has impoverished the area. The poor just get poorer.

    Ethics of the construction companies?
    So far although there is photographic evidence of muck freely being dumped in the Ganga, the N.T.P.C. company that is working in the area replied to a query via RTI that ‘no muck was being disposed in the Ganga.’
    They also absolutely deny that blasting by them is creating cracks in houses although people from 6 villages on both sides of the valley have reported houses shaking, cracks etc. Hence they assume no responsibility. All examinations in this regard so far have been conducted by agencies employed by themselves, hence they can hardly be termed unbiased.
    Local labour employed by them freely admitted to cutting forest wood for fuel and using the forest, river etc. for toilet purposes, although they are committed not to allow these things.
    During work carried out by ‘Uttaranchal Jal Vidyut Nigam’, cement was dumped into the river for 5 years. Cement also got deposited in the fields of the local villagers making them barren.
    The companies did not reply to queries by RTI and are obviously not keen to share information. No documents were provided to the locals in Hindi.
    Are these projects feasible?
    The already existent Maneri dam 1 of just 90 MW’s produces barely 50% of its capacity since the last ten years as reported via an RTI query. Reasons stated by the U.J.V.N. are less water in the Bhagirathi in winter, and too much silt in monsoons. These 4 projects planned upstream of Uttarkashi are cumulatively more than 1000 MW’s. How are they supposed to run?
    With the rapidly retreating glaciers, global warming etc. how can these projects sustain themselves in the long term?

    The Unique River?
    The Ganga is famous for her self purifying properties. Traditionally it is a known fact that Ganga water can be stored for any length of time without decay, while other waters would decay if similarly stored. Scientific studies corroborate this fact. Perhaps she is the only river of her kind in the world.

    Is the unique Ganga water still Ganga water?
    NO. These projects admit that water temperature will rise, flow rate decrease, flora and fauna will be destroyed. The water itself does not flow through natural Himalayan rock, but through cemented tunnels. Already there is evidence of the companies dumping pure cement into the river, dumping muck and other wastes into the water. Hence the qualities of Ganga water stand to be destroyed right at the source – thereby in effect destroying the entire length of the river.

    An agreement almost 100 years old being ignored?
    Almost a century back when the British were planning to check the flow of the Ganga at Haridwar, Madan Mohan Malviya and some kings, the 4 Shankaracharyas and the public united in protest. The British relented. Chief Sec. of the United Provinces, I.C.S., R.Burns passed order no 1002 on 20-4-1917 to ‘maintain a free flow of the Ganga.’ The spiritual traditions that even an alien govt. respected, today our ‘own’ leaders threaten to violate.

    The heavenly River –
    In the Gita, when describing his eminent manifestations Krishna declares, “Among the water sources, I am the Ganga.”
    Swami Vivekananda said – ‘The Gita and the Ganga constitute the Hinduism of the Hindus’..
    From birth to death a billion people crave the drop of her waters on their lips.
    Even people from foreign lands scatter their ashes in her flow and consider themselves blessed.
    The undisputable self-evident fact of the position of the Ganga in our existence is being completely ignored.

    The final blow –
    When the EIA reports state that no monument of historical, religious or archaeological value are being affected by the various projects in the area – it stupendously omits the mightiest of all symbols, the essence of all worship, the most ancient, historical of all traditions – the Ganga herself. Such an omission is too great a blunder, too great an insult to the entire country to let pass unchallenged.

    A Nation without pride –
    Letting the Ganga disappear, aiding in the destruction of her qualities and flow reveals a tremendous disrespect to the past of our country, considering the generations who have worshipped her as Mother and Goddess, to the present Indians who yet do – and to the future India whom we are depriving of their national and spiritual heritage.

    Call of the Ganga- ‘The ahvaan’-
    A few minutes of your time and a little effort on your part could help save the ‘Ganga’ from further damage. Write a letter with full contact details to
    C-103, Shastri Nagar, Jodhpur
    Or email to meetavk@ hotmail.com

    Tear this page out, fill out details and send –

    SENDER NAME –
    ADD –

    CONTACT NO –
    EMAIL –

    ‘A free flowing Ganga is an essential part of my country, our culture and our heritage. I strongly protest the tunneling and destruction of this flow for the production of hydro-power or for any other reason.
    We have inherited a clean environment, rich flowing rivers and an incredible culture from our forefathers. Conscience demands that we leave it intact for the coming generations of our country.
    Mere consumption cannot be the final goal of our ‘development’ process. Hence as a citizen of this country I demand that the Ganga be left free and untampered in her course from Gangotri to the plains.’

    NOTICE –
    Dr.Agrawal, a retired professor of IIT Kanpur has taken the decision to go on a fast unto death, commencing on June 13th ’08 to oppose the hydro projects upstream of Uttarkashi. His letter of intent is attached.
    Matter is composed and provided by Arya vihar, Uttarkashi

  3. i agree with you,,,,,,,,,,,,,support you and the work on these projects must immediately be stopped.

  4. i agree with you,,,,,,,,,,,,,support you and the work on these projects must immediately be stopped.

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