Thursday, December 2, 2010

Big Dams <-> Big Problems

A friend SMSed me to write a critical essay for his assessment in school on the big dams issue and I had to prepare this overnight.

A big wall on a Zone 5 hill pushing the waters of the largest river in the country- Will it be safe? This is the debate that has become a breakfast crump of the newspapers of the state. Political parties has also got a new mantra to missile chairs upon one another. The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti is no less in its place having tried all ways to paralyze the functioning of the state. It all makes to look that the luck in the 2011 state elections relies on it. May be it is true- who knows, who cares?

To introduce the issue of big dams here is not at all necessary; everybody has already been introduced to it. It’s absolutely true that the big dams can boost the energy sector of the state, lower the power crisis of the nation and also solve the unemployment condition to a large range. But doing so at a cost of a higher loss will be putting a mirror before our foolishness. Studies have always revealed that such big dams wipe out the life of aquatic animals downstream. Forget the view of environment conservation but think of the people who earn their bread on the fishes! Also examples of big dams drawing earthquakes are pacing like ants. Ask the CM about this issue and he will politely cite you examples of China where the Three-Gorges Dam is making the nation proud. At that time he will trick to forget the 2008 earthquake there which marked 7.8 on the scales and snatched life from 80,000 Chinese. Reports claim that this quake happened as a mere cause of the Zipingpu dam resulting to Reservoir-Induced Seismicity.

Apart from these, there are also proved results of loss of fertility of lands and irrigation abnormalities. Every oldies now say that there has been a great change in the climate since their times. Once the dams are implemented it will make road clear for the newbies too. Everybody can then sit and share their woes on the change in climate. Because, it is likely that dams will be subjected to much higher flows in coming decades, rising concerns of dam safety, increased flooding and submergence. Or even it does not happen it is sure to affect the economy by the incurring losses from the project.
With over 150,000 megawatts (MW) of additional hydropower capacity proposed in the next 20 years in four countries, the Himalayan region could have the highest concentration of dams in the world.

Accordingly, even if we are left with dams or no dams, it is sure that we will need to increase our power sector. That could have undoubtedly been made with the costs we have already poured in some useless things; topping the lists is Indian Cricket. There are various substitutes of big dams like the energies from renewable sources or pipeline-electricity-drawing where irrigation channels could be used to turn turbines by sending water through them at a very high speed. But we have made and still making investments on the big dams with the show of concern by our Mantris adding another bit to it. It has now lead to such a stage that even we stop the dams the government will take much longer time to decide on the next time when it spends such a huge amount on the Northeast, a favorite for extortions and protests. Private sectors will take ages for the same.

Now all it requires is to keep aside calculations of personal benefits and round together to search a solution to the problems. But it will remain to be doubtful with the records of our politicians in hand!

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