Saturday, 25 January 2014

Press Note 25-1-2014


The long pending Tehri HEP case was again heard in Supreme Court by Justice H.L. Ghokhle, Justice Kurian Joseph bench.

It must be remembered that on 29th July 2005, all the divergent tunnels were closed and tehri dam reservoir started filling to its capacity but till now rehabilitation had not been completed. Environmental conditions were not kept in mind while constructing the dam infrastructure. Bridges that used to connect villages on two sides of the river have not yet been constructed which have increased distances to a large extent resulting in extreme problems of commutation for villagers. Corruption on rehabilitation issues have grown higher and higher with time. Grievance redressal mechanism has not been allowed to function properly due to various technical reasons.

Till now, land rights not been given to old oustees who were rehabilitated due to Tehri HEP and situation of the provision of civic amenities is also in bad conditions

N.D. Juyal and Shekhar Singh challenged the Nainital High Court verdict dated 29th July 2005 which had allowed Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) to close the tunnel to fill the reservoir. Battle is going on in the Supreme Court and it has proved that rehabilitation of this project has not yet been completed. So the order of 29th July 2005 High Court was proven wrong.

Supreme Court looked in to the matter with deep concern and did not allow THDC to fill the reservoir fully. Even state government did not give clearance to THDC to fill the reservoir. The new problem that has arose is the issue of 80 villages in the vicinity of Tehri dam which are now on the risk of subversion and landslides. Life of these villagers have become miserable and they deserve rehabilitation because their villages are not anymore in the condition to live. For them THDC and government has planned to come up with a new collateral policy. The tussle between the THDC and state government is going on because State Government wants to rehabilitate new oustees in Haridwar and Dehradun district. On the other hand THDC is putting pressure to rehabilitate around the reservoir itself.

The petitioner, represented by Advocate Sanjay Parikh pleaded that there is no need of any collateral policy because these people are also affected due to the same Tehri dam so these oustees should get rehabilitation under the same policy as for the earlier ones. And they should be rehabilitated in Haridwar, Dehradun area with full civic amenities, land rights and cultivable land which were promised to the old oustees as their rights but were never fulfilled. Advocate Sanjay Parikh pleaded that this is our main focus and we’ve filed other issues like bridges, command area plan, catchment area treatment plan etc. that should be heard by the court. The point that this area is environmentally fragile also needs to be understood. This shall allow formulation of better rehabilitation policies for the people. Justice Ghokhle very humanely, said that our first motto is to give land to the people who were displaced.

He further gave reference of the Supreme Court order dated 1 Sept 2003, “It is made clear that the condition of pari-passu implementation of conditions prior to the commissioning of the project shall be closely monitored under the existing mechanism set up by MoEF and the project authorities will ensure that prior to closing of diversion tunnels T1/T2 for impoundment of the reservoir, evacuation, resettlement and rehabilitation are completed in all respects.” Which was not done. In Narmada and other cases, dam got constructed but rehabilitation promises and schemes were never implemented. There were many cases regarding that in SC which puts burden on the court too apart from all the miseries that the people have to face at the cost of pseudo development of our country. Advocate Parikh said that question is not only below 830 mts (the height of the reservoir from the sea level) but also about villages around the reservoir which are sinking as they are also directly affected.

Senior council Mr. Gonsalves supporte the arguments. Ms. Rachana Shrivastava, learned counsel appearing for the State of Uttarakhand submits that the State is of the view that the affected families should be rehabilitated downstream because the upper-region is fragile. According to the State Government the number of such families is 414. The State Government has identified the land in Khanpur area of District Haridwar and it is also proposing to find out appropriate land in District Dehradun.

Mr. Raval, learned senior counsel appearing for the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation on the other hand submits that rehabilitation should be upstream and not downstream. Ms. Shrivastava submits that a proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forest and it is awaiting clearance from them. Mr. H.P. Rawal also said that we should also be allowed to file our issues to Ministry of Environment and Forest Ministry otherwise the issue will not be dealt with effectively.

The Supreme Court expects the Central Government to take a decision thereon as expeditiously as possible and if possible, report further development to this Court by the next date of hearing that is scheduled to be on 4th March, 2014.

So tussle is going on and oustees are waiting for mere rehabilitation, at the very least. NO DAM SUPPORTERS ARE SAYING ANY THING ON THIS ISSUE AS THEY ARE BUSY LOBBYING FOR NEW DAMS PROJECTS.

Vimalbhai and Puran Singh Rana

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

15-01-2014 "AAP” and I

Monday, 13 January 2014

Press Note 13-1-2014

Notice issued to Alaknanda Hydropower Co. Ltd., Central Ministry of Environment and Forests and Uttarakhand State Government by National Green Tribunal on 9th January, 2014. (NGT order is attached)
On 2nd January, 2014, Srinagar Bandh Aapda Sangharsh Samiti through its Vice president Shri Premballabh Kala and Vimal Bhai, Convenor, Matu Jansangthan filed a case in NGT for the compensation of damage caused due to Srinagar Hydro Electric Project. Applicants seeking restoration, damage and com National Green Tribunal pensation against the project proponent of the Srinagar Hydroelectric Project (330 MW) who are responsible largely for the devastation caused to the Shaktibihar, Lower Bhaktiana, Chauhan Mohalla, Gas Godown, Food Godown, SSB, ITI, Resham Farm, Roadways Bus Stand, Nursery Road, Alkeshwar Temple, Gram Sabha Ufalda’s Fatehpur reti, Sriyantra Island Resort, and other places including Governmental / Quasi-Governmental/Personal and public property of Srinagar in Pauri district of Uttarakhand.
Counsel Rahul Choudhary on behalf of applicants argued that the project proponent has dumped large quantity of muck generated from the construction of the Srinagar Hydroelectric Project just beside the gates of the dam on the river bed of Alaknanda. On 16th & 17.06.2013 because of the heavy rain and floods the water was filled in the reservoir of the Srinagar Hydroelectric Project and the project proponent kept the gates of the dam close which led to accumulation of water and creating huge reservoir. The project proponent then opened the gate which resulted in massive flow of water suddenly which also swept away the muck dump on the river bed and all the muck then along with the water reached the villagers and filled up the house and various other areas and contributed in large scale to the damaged. The project proponent has not even constructed retention wall which resulted in further damage because of the dam. After listening the counsel the bench of five members issued the notice to all the respondents. Next hearing is scheduled on 6th February.
It is well known that after 6 months of June 2013 calamity, there has been no inquiry set up by the state or central government. We have been trying to file a FIR but local district police official have always refused to do so. Not even a single dam supporter including local MPs and MLAs cared to reach people through any means. It is very much clear that the dam supporters are supporting dams not for the welfare of people but for their own personal interest.
After the June calamity, 2013 Mat Jansangathan had done the ground survey and it can be safely deduced that underconsturction and working dams raised the quantum of the calamity. We raised this issues with the masses thtough leaf letting, meetings, press confencess,etc. We sent letters to authorities, different ministries, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, MLAs and MP's but no one showed any interest in the issue. Now we entered into legal battle too. This is the first ever case filed in any court for the compensations for the loss of people's assets.
We will use all means under the Constitution of India to take our rights.
Puran Singh Rana
(Matu Jansangthan)
Chndra Mohan Bhatt Vijay Laxmi Ratudi
(Srinagar Bandh Aapda Sangharsh Samiti)

M.A. NO. 7 OF 2014 & M.A. NO. 8 OF 2014
Original Application No. 3 of 2014
Srinagar Bandh Aapda Sangharsh Samiti & Anr.
Alaknanda Hydropower Co. Ltd. & Ors.

Present: Applicant: Mr. Rahul Choudhary, Advocate
Respondents: None appeared
Date and Remarks
Item No. 12 January 9, 2014
Orders of the Tribunal
We have heard the Learned counsel appearing for the Applicant.
Issue Notice to the Respondents by registered post/acknowledgement due and Dasti as well.
Notice returnable on 06th February, 2014. Notice on Misc. Applications as well.
Requisites to be filed within three days from today.
Learned counsel appearing for the Respondent 2 puts in appearance and prays for time to file the Reply.
Let the Reply be filed within two weeks from today with advance copy to the Learned counsel appearing for the Applicant who may file Rejoinder thereto, if any, within one week thereafter.
(Swatanter Kumar)
(U.D. Salvi)
(Dr. D.K. Agrawal)
(B.S. Sajwan)
(Dr. R.C. Trivedi)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Letter to Delhi CM 6 January 2013

Shri Arvind Kejarivalji
The Chief Minister of Delhi
New Delhi

Subject: Water Supply to the poor in Delhi and the problems faced by Tehri Dam affected people from where Delhi Water is supplied, 

Dear Sir,
We welcome you as the Chief Minister of Delhi and wish success in all your government efforts towards a welfare system of governance. We acknowledge your policy improvements and working of the distribution of water and electricity to the people of Delhi particularly focusing on the poor sections of the city swiftly after your oath as the Chief Minister of the State.
Through this letter, we wish to throw some light on three issues that needs your due notice in regard with the water supply in Delhi.

First issue:-
There is approximately 40% leakage in the water supply mechanism in the city which need to be mended for increasing the efficiency of the water provision for the people of Delhi. Keeping in mind that there is a large section amongst the poor in Delhi, who survive on the water through pipe line leakage and other unregulated source. Water supply in unauthorized colonies, slum areas should be regulated.
We expect you to look through the issue and act in accordance to your capacity for their inclusion in the safe, cheap and regular system of water supply of the city poor.

Second Issue:-
We must put to your notice that a large part (300 cusecs) of Delhi water supply comes from Tehri Hydro Electric Project reservoir built on Ganga River, Uttarakhand. This has resulted in cheap and high amount of water supply for the people residing in Delhi. But what must also be recognized is the problems faced by the people displaced due to construction of Tehri dam.

  • The displacement initiatives that have been in process for more then 30 years now have still not been able to provide basic Health, Education, Property Rights, Transport, Banks facility, Ration shops, Roads, Sewage system and Livelihood facilities for the around 40 villages that were displaced during the construction of the dam. All of this were promised as a part of rehabilitation policy at the time of displacement but have still not been able to cater needs of many amongst the displaced. There are schools but no teachers, health facilities are negligible, and almost no development of basic infrastructure like roads, sewage, etc. People are merely left in the jungles to survive on their own means.
  • Nearly 80 villages around the Tehri Dam reservoir are facing enormous problem from landslides, soil erosion and sinking. Around 30 villagers and more than 70 cattle have already died due to drowning in the reservoir.
  • New Tehri Town, one of the major rehabilitation sites of Old Tehri town, have direct supply of water from the lake without any filtration or refining process which is not usable and sometimes even harmful in the daily domestic use. People have been protesting and voicing out to get a regular water supply in their relocated areas. Movements for clean and appropriate water supply are going on under the leadership of Naagri Manch New Tehri and Bhoomidhar Visthapit Sangathan. The struggle has witnessed months’ long Dharna, Rallies, Sheher Bandh, Relay hunger strikes, indefinite hunger strike, etc during its course but till now, there’s has no solution. On the other hand, the people shall now have to pay water tax, for which the agitation is in process.
  • Due to the sinking phenomenon in the 80 villages around the reservoir, lives, property, agricultural land and livelihood is under threat. These villages have to resettle and rehabilitate elsewhere. The rehabilitation policy is yet to be finalized due to the tussle between state government of Uttarakhand and Tehri Dam Proponent Tehri Hydro Electric Development Corporation. This issue is still to be decided by the Supreme Court in the matter of N.D. Juyal and Shekhar Singh v/s Government of India, fighting for the rehabilitation lacks of the displaced of Tehri dam. Till now Supreme Court of India did not grant permission for filling the reservoir of Tehri Dam fully due to delay in rehabilitation.
  • It is important to mention here that environment clearance (EC) granted to Tehri Dam HEP dated 19-7-1990 is not followed till date. There are severe environmental problems arising from the Tehri dam construction leading to soil erosion, loss of aquatic life, loss of forests, etc. which cannot be ignored. On Rehabilitation aspect EC clearly said:-
3.2. Rehabilitation
The Tehri Hydro Development Corporation will, through a reputed institution, undertake a socio-economic study of the measures needed to ensure that the standard of living of the oustees is not affected due to the project. The study will be completed by 30.6.1991. The THDC will implement such recommendations as may be made by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for rehabilitation after consideration of the study report by the MEF. The rehabilitation package covering population affecting Koteshwar dam as well as those living on the rim of the reservoir and likely to be affected will be prepared before 31.3.1991.

Third Issue:-
Delhi Government had signed MoUs with Uttarakhand Government in developing dams like Renuka HEP, Himachal Pradesh; Lakhwar HEP and Kisau HEP, Uttarakhand which should not be proceeded further, keeping in mind the real costs of such projects and its consequences, which can be seen in the Tehri Dam issue.
The rights of Delhi people’s right to cheap, abundant water supply are on one side while the right to life and livelihood of the displaced people of the Dams constructed for its purpose are on other. We feel Delhi Government is also responsible for the aforementioned victimization and protect the environment of that area.
Few years back Tehri dam affected people met the then Chief Minister Ms. Shila Dixshitji for her intervention to speed up the rehabilitation process but nothing has been done till date.

In the light of above mention issues we request you to:
  • Consider poorest people of Delhi also in the plan of providing water.
  • Support Tehri Dam affected people for their proper rehabilitation and ask Uttarakhand Govt. and not to give permission to THDC for filling full reservoir.
  • Review the MOU of Renuka HEP, Himachal Pradesh; Lakhwar HEP and Kisau HEP, Uttarakhand in reference of Delhi water needs and the environment and apathy towards displace people.

We hope to meet you with respect to the above issues, discuss and deliberate the problem and perhaps look for some alternative to the development or include the voice and needs of the marginalized in the wheel of progress.
We hope for your affirmative response!
Thanking You
Yours Sincerely
Vimal Bhai, Puran Singh Rana and
(Matu Jansangthan)
Kamal Singh Mahar, Ramanand Bhatt
(Naagrik Munch, New Tehri)
Girish Ghildiyal, Anurag Pant
(Bhoomidhar Visthapit Sangathan)