‘River Day’ Launched in Uttarakhand: People Say No to Big Dams!

National Alliance of People’s Movements | Press Release

From Alaknanda valley, Uttarakhand, Vishnugaad Peepalkoti Dam affected people have sent the message of “River’s health is vital for people’s survival” to communities across the world today. THDC and World Bank alliance has failed miserably in fulfilling the hope of people in Ganga Valley, and now they are also trying to go to other countries like Bhutan. We strongly oppose this in India and appeal to the people of other countries to do the same against the funding by World Bank to Big Dam projects in the name of clean energy.

People from more than 20 affected villages have united and opposed the big dams to save the culture and ecology of Uttarakhand. Bharat Singh (Salood Village) – Voices cannot be subverted; we don’t need energy at the cost of water, forest, River and land. Manvar Singh and Maatwar Singh (Jakhola Village) – Dams are causing climate change. Dinesh Raana (Laanzi village) – Pollution is on rise due to dams on the River Ganga. Jagdeesh Bhandari (Pokhni Village) – Government and THDC has cheated us. Baal Singh (Pokhni Village) – Disaster will happen in future and they kept us unaware from the fact. Rakesh Bhandari (Huen Village) – How will the Ganga culture survive when the river itself is in danger. Ram lal (Durgapur Village) – There are 23 false cases filed against us but struggle will continue. Uma Devi (Dving Village) – We are and will remain anti dams, Ganga will flow incessant. Narendra Singh – Landslides has increased. Vrihansraj Tadiyal (Peepalkoti) – Biodiversity and water is getting diminished from hills because of dams. Dhaneshwari Devi (Pokhari Village) – We will not compromise with our environment at any cost. Rajendra Hatwal (Haat) – Rehabilitation in Haat village was false, we have not left the village. We have been cheated by company and government both. The archeological department has not surveyed the forest of Belpatri and Lakshmi Narayan temple. Vimal bhai, Convener of Matu Jan Sangathan – People’s unity and organization can solve the issues; Big Dams have given only displacement and ecological destruction which is being repeated even after more than five thousand dams in the country. There are more than 80 cases filed in court against people due to the destructive alliance between THDC and World Bank. The work on this dam is going ahead with the help of terror and dictatorship. But we have fought till now and will keep fighting for justice, people’s rights and legal struggles from the land to the water. We believe in the Gandhian principle and will continue the non violent struggles.

Yesterday, the programme was commenced with the beating of drums and local instruments. People brought the soil form their villages and collected near the Peepal tree to remember this as a sign of protest and struggles. Narendra Pokhariyal has moderated the event, who is struggling for more than a decade against the Dams.

“Ganga Chalegi Apni Chaal, Uncha Rahega Uska Bhaal (Ganga will continue to flow with its dignity intact)”, “Dekh Raha Hai Aaj Himalaya Ganga ke Rakhwaalon Ko (Himalaya is looking towards saviours of Ganga)”, the programme has ended with these slogans announcing the course of future struggles.

Narendra Pokhariyal, Ajay Bhandari, Ram Lal, Vimal Bhai