Tapping energy or sapping the Himalayas -report by Chandi Prasad Bhatt, eminent activist and environmentalist A series of dams are being planned on the Ganga between the Gangotri glacier and Uttarkashi to generate hydropower. The government has an economic agenda that requires huge amount energy. Well, it can go ahead, but only after it has satisfied me on seven counts. There should be a detailed, in-depth study of the geology and the structures, by a team of scientists whose credential is proven and who should be inducted from reputed research organizations.

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh DEHRA DUN: The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power, Jairam Ramesh has urged the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation ( THDC) to double its operational portfolio in the next five years.

The decision of Prof G.D. Agarwal, who has been on a 'fast unto death' for the past week against power projects on the Ganga, to direct his agitation against the Central government following the shelving of two power projects by the BJP state government has politicised the issue. While Agarwal refused to end his fast and decided to target the Union government, the Uttarakhand Congress leaders alleged that the 'Sangh Parivar' has hijacked his agitation for their petty political interests. Interestingly, the state government has promised to support him in his fight against the Centre.

The term bioprospecting has been widely used to assess the economic potential of different plant species and their value-addition. Our folklore with embedded cultural heritage has tremendous possibilities and potential for bioprospecting. Among the over 8000 species of flowering plants growing in the Himalaya, nearly 4000 are identified from the Garhwal Himalayan region. This part of region enjoyed a significant place throughout its history.

Recent pictures taken by Google Earth via satellite have confirmed the worst fears of environmentalists. An eight-km stretch of the Bhagirathi river has dried up. The river is shown snaking through the Himalayan mountains as one long, sandy stretch minus any water. Other rivers emanating from the Gangotri glacier, including the Bhilangana, the Assi Ganga and the Alaknanda, all tributaries of the Ganga river, are also drying up. This same dry stretch of the Bhagirathi in 2004, according to Google Earth pictures generated at that time, was one-km-long.

Aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity in the Bhagirathi river was monitored for the period of twelve months (September 2004 to August 2005) for assessing the impact of Asia's highest dam, Tehri Dam. Comparative data on diversity of macroinvertebrates revealed that the number of taxa in the downstream stretch, especially close to the dam was significantly reduced.

People living near the Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand are in trouble. Villages on the slopes overlooking the reservoir are threatened by increasing landslides and those living

State operations surrounding three hydel schemes are causing controversy. In the Uttaranchal hills, there are allegations of repression. In Manipur, protesters are shot at one dam site and another project is pushed through without thought for multiple imp

Old Tehri town and several villages go under water following a court order to close the diversion canal and dam the Bhagirathi, while the scattered families' demands for compensation are yet to mat

Supreme Court issues notices against closure of final tunnels of Tehri dam; conditions unfulfilled

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