Aside

Save Uttarakhand stop building dams, plead victims

damsFEATURE, NEW DELHI: After losing 21 relatives in the Uttarakhand tragedy in 2013, Savitri Devi has been waiting for a healing touch. Her hopes have been already shattered by the state government and the Centre who are supporting the hydropower projects in Uttarakhand.

And what has left her all the more puzzled is what has happened to the Midas touch of Supreme Court.

“Is it the same Supreme Court which in 2013 under Justice Radhakrishnan had stayed construction of all hydroprojects in Uttarakhand and had asked for a thorough study so that the tragedy doesn’t happen again?,” she questions.

Savitri along with nine victims had traveled miles from the devastated areas near Kedarnath for the SC hearing on Tuesday.

“All of them – lawyers and judges – were just talking about companies and hydro projects. They didn’t seem to be concerned about thousands of deaths and the great devastation.”

“We have already lost a lot and don’t have strength to lose more,” says Savitri pleading everyone in the country to stand up for the cause as the Supreme Court on Tuesday has restricted the matter to just clearance for six power projects one each of NTPC, NHPC, THDC and GMR and two of Super Hydro.

SC has said, “…the learned counsel for the parties shall restrict their address with regard to the aforesaid six projects.” It also made clear that no adjournment would be granted in the matter now. The matter will come for final hearing on March 12.

“It’s time the country should rise and ask the apex court to give a Judgment keeping in mind that 2013 tragedy and not what government says,” she requests wiping tears from her eyes.

“Don’t be selfish! Don’t light up your homes by putting our world at stake,” she cries. Savitri says even after eighteen months, she along with her family is trying to rebuild their houses, livelihoods and lives.

In June 2013, Uttarakhand was stuck by flashfloods and landslides due to excessive rainfall claiming over 5,000 lives and devastating huge tracts of land.

Sushila Devi another victim who has even gone to jail for over two months fighting against hydropower companies for over a decade says, “Prime Minister Modi is always enchanting Namo Ganga, Namo Ganga. Does he understand that if all these projects come up they are going to affect Ganga too?” The lady says she might be illiterate but can understand the basics which the government officials and corporate are not willing to admit.

“Ravi and several other experts who have visited our areas have clearly confessed that hydroprojects are a major cause as the mountains are very fragile and fall in seismic zone 5. It’s a simple fact which everybody wants to overlook,” she alleges. “Even today one can see corpses of men and animals and remains of houses flowing down the rivers,” she adds.

In cities people get scared with minor earthquakes but in our areas we experience them everyday when a blast happens for these dams and underground tunnels.

The Uttarakhand victims made an appeal to the people to request the apex court not to allow these hydroprojects at any cost.

When DNA tried to contact Justice Radhakrishnan, he expressed surprise the way things were going ahead in the case but refused to comment stating that “the matter is sub-judice and I’ll be able to say anything only once the judgement is out.” – From dnaindia.com

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