Dehradun, May 21 - Scores of pro-dam activists today observed a day-long fast alleging that stalled hydro-power projects on Ganga river have "diminished hope of electrification and snatched employment opportunities" in their area, and demanded the Uttarakhand Legislature pass a resolution seeking their revival.
Two Padamshree awardees along with the activists and locals threatened to go on fast-unto-death on the issue, demanding revival of at least 10 near-completed hydel projects including 330 Mw Alaknanda and 444 Mw Vishnugad-Pipalkoti projects, the works on which has been suspended for several months on environmental grounds.
"We have given our land for the construction of a powerhouse of Vishugad-Pipalkoti project but due to its suspension we are still awaiting to to get our compensation," said Jagdamba Prasad Hatwal, a resident of Hat village of Chamoli district.
"We have requested the state government to get a resolution passed in the Assembly on May 28 asking the Centre to revive the stalled hydel projects and if they fail to do so by then, we will be forced to sit on fast-unto-death from May 28," said Kaushal, who heads the city-based NGO, Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK).
The protest took place outside the Gandhi Park here.
Kaushal said the activists would also meet the Assembly Speaker G S Kunjwal in this regard.
"We are facing shortage of electricity and if the stalled projects are revived, we would be able to get nearly 10,000 Mw of power in the next 5 years," Kaushal claimed.
Noted environmentalist and retired IIT professor G D Agrawal, went on fast seeking closure of major hydel projects on the river Bhagirathi on environmental and religious grounds.
The environmentalists in the area fear that construction of such projects would obliterate the river and affect the fragile eco-system of the area.
Agarwal had undertaken similar protests in 2008 and 2009, a move that forced the Centre and the state government to suspend three projects - 480 MW Pala Maneri and 381 MW Bhaironghati, besides Loharinag Pala project on the river. PTI