Dam dilemma

the Hanumantha Rao Committee report, looking into the safety, environmental and rehabilitation aspects of the controversial Tehri Dam project, will be made public after it is presented to Prime Minister I K Gujral. Hanumantha Rao, former member of the planning commission and the chairman of the committee has said that substantial recommendations have been made to improve the Tehri dam and make it a viable project.

Meanwhile, environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna is on an indefinite fast to protest against the construction of the dam. He wants the committee to consider the establishment of a disaster management plan, in case the dam in unable to withstand earthquakes. He also wants an assurance that the Ganga river will not be polluted. He says that about 20,000 hectares of fertile land will be lost if the dam is constructed.

The 2160.5 metre Tehri Dam, said to be the highest in Asia, was commissioned in 1972, but work on it began only in 1978. And ever since, environmental, ecological and safety aspects have plagued the project.

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