If the original nature of the Himalayas is not taken care of, accidents like Chamoli will recur.
Rohit Kumar, Editor: The plot of India rests on a huge rock of rock, which is called ‘Indian Plate’. This plate is slowly moving north, where it is hitting the plate of Tibet. Due to the collision of these two plates, the region of Himalayas, especially Uttarakhand has been suffering from earthquakes. Except for the last 20 years, there has been an earthquake in Uttarakhand almost every ten years. The reason for no major earthquake in the last 20 years could be that heavy storage of water in the Tehri dam has created a pressure between the collisions of these two plates, which is preventing them from colliding. However, the Indian plate has been moving northwards. Its pressure is also building and there is a possibility of earthquake in the coming time. Last Sunday, the ejaculation of the glacier in Rishiganga may have been caused by the vibration caused by such a collision. It may also have the role of vibrations generated by the explosions made to create the Tapovan-Vishnugad project under the Rishiganga. Although scientists are of the opinion that the blast waves do not go far. Yet the effect of micro waves on the glacier is not known to us.
Glaciers are weakening due to global warming
Our glaciers are believed to be weakening due to global warming. For this reason, it is said that the frequency of such incidents will continue. Our plots from Haridwar to Ganga Sagar are made by taking down the soil from the landslides by the Ganges. Therefore, it is not possible to prevent such incidents with plantation or other methods. Hydropower projects are also considered to have played a role in Uttarakhand tragedies for the last few years. In 2014, the Ravi Chopra Committee, constituted on the orders of the Supreme Court, had stated that the loss in the 2013 disaster has only occurred above and below the hydropower projects. Preventing the flow of river by hydropower projects reduces accidents. If barrages were not being built in Rishiganga and Tapovan, the debris of the glacier would have spontaneously passed straight to Gangasagar and the tragedy would not have happened. Just as the debris from the Chaurabari glacier in 2013 would not have prevented tragedy if the Phata-Vying, Singoli-Bhatwadi and Srinagar projects had not stopped. Thus the tragedy has been caused by the barrage constructed by the Tapovan-Vishnugad project in the path of debris, not by the bursting of the glacier. The Vishnugad-Peepalkoti project under the troubled Tapovan-Vishnugad project is under construction and the Srinagar project below it has blocked the way to Alaknanda. Therefore, in the times to come, the cloud of crisis will continue to hover.
Hydropower projects have an impact on ecology
Presently hydroelectric projects have become economically irrelevant. The cost of electricity generated from the new projects is currently falling between Rs 7 and 10 per unit, which is three times that of solar power. Although solar energy is produced during the day, electricity is required in the morning and evening. However, the cost of converting daytime energy into morning and evening energy comes to only 50 paise per unit. So morning and evening solar power can be easily available for 4 rupees. In addition, hydropower projects have an adverse effect on our ecology. According to the National Environment Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, the viruses named phage are ten times more common in the Ganges than in the Yamuna and Narmada. They have anti-disease ability.
The government is committed to these projects even when the production cost of hydropower is high.
The Ganges water also contains copper and radioactive thorium, which destroys germs. These special properties in the Ganges are produced by rubbing with water stones. Hydropower projects eliminate friction of the Ganges water with stones and disrupt the movement of fish. If the value of this environmental loss is added to the value of hydropower, then by my estimation the cost of production of hydropower will come to Rs 18 per unit. Yet the government remains committed to these projects. Economic development is called for for them.
Promoting the service sector in Uttarakhand will reduce the burden on the environment, economic development will be more
The alternative is to promote the service sector in Uttarakhand. The sanatorium for tuberculosis patients was built decades ago at Bhawali near Nainital. The idea behind it was that the pure and open air there would give health benefits to the patients soon. Similarly, we should establish software park, university, hospital, computer center etc. on the banks of Ganga. Then the burden on the environment will be less, economic growth will be higher and employment opportunities will also be created with higher wages. It is surprising that instead of focusing on the service sector, why is the government determined to increase hydropower? The reason for this appears to be political gain. Like pizza may seem good in food, but lentils are good for health. The current disaster is a warning. If we do not pay attention to the original character of the Himalayas, then such incidents will happen.
Economic development must balance with nature, Chamoli disaster is a bell of danger
Surprisingly, the Indian culture that praises nature is obstructing the free flow of a holy river like the Ganges, and the American culture called Bhogwadi has created the ‘Wild and Scenic Act’. Under this law, a particular part of rivers is declared ‘wild and scenic’. After that, cattle grazing is also not allowed in those parts. They are kept exactly in natural form. Many hydropower projects in the US were shut down simply because the people there wanted to enjoy bathing, ferrying and fishing in the flowing river. Instead of just praising nature, we should realize it realistically. Economic development should be balanced with nature. The Chamoli disaster is the alarm bell for us. Taking cognizance of this, we have to take measures to ensure the free flow of all the rivers of the country and save their ecology. We have to faithfully apply the mantra of ‘Prithvi Shanti Raap: Shanti Roshdhaya: Shanti Vanaspatya: Shanti’.