Against the flow

Disregarding ecological and livelihood concerns, the Parbati hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh is moving forward. Experts warn that diverting water from the Parbati and its tributaries for power generation will leave the people in Kullu, where the project is coming up, with nothing to drink and irrigate their fields.

The problem is that the project, being set up by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (nhpc), was approved eight years ago on the basis of data for water flow in the Parbati and its tributaries between 1969 and 1998. Since then the water the tributaries receive has decreased due to the shrinking of glaciers. Experts say that tapping these small streams will hardly enhance power generation; instead it will create severe water crisis.

Not enough water
The 2,000-mw hydroelectric project consists of three segments; two are under construction, at Silagarh, 18 km from the Kullu airport, and at Sainj in Sainj valley (see box: Changing course). It is the second segment which is causing the worries. People of four valleys