HCC ‘sloppiness’ despoils Bandipora
Officials Plugged Ears When Experts Sounded Alarm
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, May 21: In a glaring instance of official negligence, the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), executing the 300 MW Kishanganga Power Project in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, seems to have brazenly overlooked the environmental concerns associated with the project execution. While an official report on Kishanganga—prepared by a Delhi-based agency for the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC)—clearly pointed out the dangers that the execution of the project might pose to the Bandipora environs, both the Corporation and the executing agency seem to have overlooked the concerns.
The report, prepared by the Centre for Inter-disciplinary Studies of Mountain & Hill Environment (CISMHE), New Delhi, not only pointed to the issues like environmental degradation but also referred to the impact on water quality of Bandipora. “The impact on water quality is expected to rise from disposal of excavated material into the river channel. The muck will essentially come from the road-building activity, tunneling and other excavation works.
The unassorted waste going into the river channel will enhance the turbidity of water continuously for long time periods,” the report said.
The CISMHE was set up under the Board of Inter-Disciplinary Programs of the University of Delhi. The report under question was prepared by the CISMHE which had been asked to examine the impact of Kishanganga execution on environment.
The report, copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, says “though rivers do naturally experience turbidity during monsoon periods, but during post-monsoon months a large diversity of organisms inhabit the ecosystem. In event of no respite from turbid conditions, many species of aquatic flora and fauna may be put to survival risk.”
The report also points out to deterioration of water quality—something which is the prime concern of the residents of Bandipora and Gurez. “Though a number of villages are already located on the banks of Kishanganga river, a large number of laborers and other work force going to be stationed there is bound to cause further deterioration in water quality and the subsequent changes in the aquatic biota. The degradation in water quality will mainly arise from discharge of waste and refuse into the river channel by the laborer colonies and other temporary human habitations,” the report reads.
The report says the “waters of Kishanganga river would be diverted through HRT and conveyed to underground power house near Kralpora village located on the left bank of Bonar Nallah, which is a tributary of Madhumati Nallah that drains into Wullar Lake near Bandipora.”
“The Wullar Lake acts as a huge reservoir and absorbs the high flood waters of river Jehlum. It is a home to a number of migratory and resident birds. The anthropogenic activities on the periphery of lake has resulted in siltation and shrinkage of its area. The biological diversity has decreased due to human pressures,” the report reads. “This is due to the effluents brought into the river Jhelum and from a large number of villages situated on the lake shore has resulted in deterioration of water quality.”
According to sources, both the NHPC and the HCC should have taken local concerns into consideration. “If the people of Bandipora are angry over improper dumping of waste and muck by the HCC, they are not wrong. Today, dust has engulfed the entire district because of the HCC negligence. At least they should have dumped the waste matter properly and scientifically,” they said.
The residents of Bandipora have already urged the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to intervene and save the district from the “imminent environmental disaster.”
Pertinently in January this year, the State Pollution Control Board took cognizance of the reports appearing in Greater Kashmir about the pollution caused by the construction work of Kishanganga Power Project, being undertaken by HCC in Bandipora.
The SPCB asked the HCC to construct sedimentation tanks at the spots within 20 day, saying the Bonar Nallah is not only a source of water for residents living downstream at Pazalpora, Kralpora and other villages, but its water is used for growing paddy in the nearby areas. “So the Nallah irrigates thousands of kanals of paddy land and is abounds with Trout fish and requires to be protected,” the SPCB said in a statement.
But, according to locals, the Company didn’t act on the recommendations.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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