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Monday, January 6, 2014

Problems faced by Tehri Dam affected people from where Delhi Water is supplied

Subject: Water Supply to the poor in Delhi and the problems faced by Tehri Dam affected people from where Delhi Water is supplied, 
To, Ref: Matu/01/3 January, 2014
Shri Arvind Kejarivalji
The Chief Minister of Delhi
Secretriate 
New Delhi
Dear Sir,
We welcome you as the Chief Minister of Delhi and wish success in all your government efforts towards a welfare system of governance. We acknowledge your policy improvements and working of the distribution of water and electricity to the people of Delhi particularly focusing on the poor sections of the city swiftly after your oath as the Chief Minister of the State.
Through this letter, we wish to throw some light on three issues that needs your due notice in regard with the water supply in Delhi.

First issue:-
There is approximately 40% leakage in the water supply mechanism in the city which need to be mended for increasing the efficiency of the water provision for the people of Delhi. Keeping in mind that there is a large section amongst the poor in Delhi, who survive on the water through pipe line leakage and other unregulated source. Water supply in unauthorized colonies, slum areas should be regulated.
We expect you to look through the issue and act in accordance to your capacity for their inclusion in the safe, cheap and regular system of water supply of the city poor.
Second Issue:-
We must put to your notice that a large part (300 cusecs) of Delhi water supply comes from Tehri Hydro Electric Project reservoir built on Ganga River, Uttarakhand. This has resulted in cheap and high amount of water supply for the people residing in Delhi. But what must also be recognized is the problems faced by the people displaced due to construction of Tehri dam.

  • The displacement initiatives that have been in process for more then 30 years now have still not been able to provide basic Health, Education, Property Rights, Transport, Banks facility, Ration shops, Roads, Sewage system and Livelihood facilities for the around 40 villages that were displaced during the construction of the dam. All of this were promised as a part of rehabilitation policy at the time of displacement but have still not been able to cater needs of many amongst the displaced. There are schools but no teachers, health facilities are negligible, and almost no development of basic infrastructure like roads, sewage, etc. People are merely left in the jungles to survive on their own means.
  • Nearly 80 villages around the Tehri Dam reservoir are facing enormous problem from landslides, soil erosion and sinking. Around 30 villagers and more than 70 cattle have already died due to drowning in the reservoir.
  • New Tehri Town, one of the major rehabilitation sites of Old Tehri town, have direct supply of water from the lake without any filtration or refining process which is not usable and sometimes even harmful in the daily domestic use. People have been protesting and voicing out to get a regular water supply in their relocated areas. Movements for clean and appropriate water supply are going on under the leadership of Naagri Manch New Tehri and Bhoomidhar Visthapit Sangathan. The struggle has witnessed months’ long Dharna, Rallies, Sheher Bandh, Relay hunger strikes, indefinite hunger strike, etc during its course but till now, there’s has no solution. On the other hand, the people shall now have to pay water tax, for which the agitation is in process.
  • Due to the sinking phenomenon in the 80 villages around the reservoir, lives, property, agricultural land and livelihood is under threat. These villages have to resettle and rehabilitate elsewhere. The rehabilitation policy is yet to be finalized due to the tussle between state government of Uttarakhand and Tehri Dam Proponent Tehri Hydro Electric Development Corporation. This issue is still to be decided by the Supreme Court in the matter of N.D. Juyal and Shekhar Singh v/s Government of India, fighting for the rehabilitation lacks of the displaced of Tehri dam. Till now Supreme Court of India did not grant permission for filling the reservoir of Tehri Dam fully due to delay in rehabilitation.
  • It is important to mention here that environment clearance (EC) granted to Tehri Dam HEP dated 19-7-1990 is not followed till date. There are severe environmental problems arising from the Tehri dam construction leading to soil erosion, loss of aquatic life, loss of forests, etc. which cannot be ignored. On Rehabilitation aspect EC clearly said:-
3.2. Rehabilitation
The Tehri Hydro Development Corporation will, through a reputed institution, undertake a socio-economic study of the measures needed to ensure that the standard of living of the oustees is not affected due to the project. The study will be completed by 30.6.1991. The THDC will implement such recommendations as may be made by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for rehabilitation after consideration of the study report by the MEF. The rehabilitation package covering population affecting Koteshwar dam as well as those living on the rim of the reservoir and likely to be affected will be prepared before 31.3.1991.

Third Issue:-
Delhi Government had signed MoUs with Uttarakhand Government in developing dams like Renuka HEP, Himachal Pradesh; Lakhwar HEP and Kisau HEP, Uttarakhand which should not be proceeded further, keeping in mind the real costs of such projects and its consequences, which can be seen in the Tehri Dam issue.
The rights of Delhi people’s right to cheap, abundant water supply are on one side while the right to life and livelihood of the displaced people of the Dams constructed for its purpose are on other. We feel Delhi Government is also responsible for the aforementioned victimization and protect the environment of that area.
Few years back Tehri dam affected people met the then Chief Minister Ms. Shila Dixshitji for her intervention to speed up the rehabilitation process but nothing has been done till date.

In the light of above mention issues we request you to:
  • Consider poorest people of Delhi also in the plan of providing water.
  • Support Tehri Dam affected people for their proper rehabilitation and ask Uttarakhand Govt. and not to give permission to THDC for filling full reservoir.
  • Review the MOU of Renuka HEP, Himachal Pradesh; Lakhwar HEP and Kisau HEP, Uttarakhand in reference of Delhi water needs and the environment and apathy towards displace people.

We hope to meet you with respect to the above issues, discuss and deliberate the problem and perhaps look for some alternative to the development or include the voice and needs of the marginalized in the wheel of progress.
We hope for your affirmative response!
Thanking You
Yours Sincerely
Vimal Bhai, Puran Singh Rana and
(Matu Jansangthan)
Kamal Singh Mahar, Ramanand Bhatt
(Naagrik Munch, New Tehri)
Girish Ghildiyal, Anurag Pant
(Bhoomidhar Visthapit Sangathan)