Monday, May 5, 2008

Maoist threat: Uttarakhand raises doubts over Pancheshwar dam

With Maoists set to form government in Nepal, the Uttarakhand government has raised doubts over the future of the proposed 6,000-Mw Pancheshwar hydel project. This will be India's biggest hydel project.
Expressing concern over Maoist activities along the Uttarakhand-Nepal border, Chief Minister BC Khanduri said the international ramifications of such a big dam had to be seen. "We have to assess the international ramifications of the Pancheshwar dam," he said.

Khanduri, who recently met Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi, expressed his concern over the chances of Maoist activities spilling over into the hill state.

The Centre is yet to take the state's permission for the project. To be thrice the size of the Tehri dam, it is proposed to be built over the Kali river in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts of the state and some parts of Nepal.

A detailed project report (DPR) of the dam, which would cost Rs 30,000-40,000 crore, is yet to be prepared. The project, with 12 units of 540 MW each, would uproot nearly 80,000 people. Nearly 80 per cent of the catchment area would be in India.

There are reports that the proposed height of the dam has been raised from 238 metres to 315 metres, which would make it India's highest and biggest dam. The 121-sq-km reservoir would submerge nearly 146 villages.

The project is also being protested by social activists saying they do not want another Tehri-like experiment in the state agai

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