What are the main objectives of Tehri Dam Project?

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Tehri Dam is constructed on the Ganga River below the confluence of its two main tributaries, Bhagirathi and Bhailangana River in the hill district of Uttaranchal. It is the world’s fifth and Asia’s largest multidimensional dam project. The dam was cleared by India’s planning commission in 1972, though the construction work was initiated by the irrigation department of UP in April, 1978.

Development of work was not satisfactory in initial phase, so Tehri Hydel Dam Corporation (THDC) was constituted in 1989 and construction work was taken over by the Union Government of India and THDC was authorized to complete the project. But dam has been not completer yet due to continuous protest and opposition from local people, environmentalists and activists like Sunderlal Bahuguna on safety issue since the start of the project. The anti-Tehri committee moved a writ petition on the ‘right to life’ under article 21 of the Constitution in November, 1985. The objection to the project and construction work both continued till Dec 25, 1989, when the construction work was suddenly suspended due to the fast undertaken by Sunderlal Bahuguna. But the construction work started again due to breaking of fast by him at the persuasion of Prime Minister.

The main objectives of the Project are:

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(i) The uprooting of more than one lake people from their homes. Only a very small percentage of the population displaced has been resettled so far.

(ii) The dam will submerge 487 sq. km. of area in the Bhagirathi valley. It will cause ecological disaster, several species of animals and plants will perish total destruction of their natural habitat.

(iii) The dam lies in epicenter tract of the dangerous Mahar Tear Fault lying at the depth of 7.5 km. beneath the proposed dam. Moreover, the Himalayan belt is itself seismic active resulting in eight major earthquake.

(iv) Experts believe that the adjacent hill cannot withstand any major earthquake and, thus, if the hillside collapses, the result will be as bad as if dam collapsed,

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But according to the Government, this dam has many benefits. It will increase about 2400 MW power capacity in Northern Zone. The dam will provide water for irrigation even during the dry season. About 60 lake residents of Delhi and UP will get drinking water. During monsoon, extra water can be stored and the states of UP, Bengal and Bihar can be saved from the flood.

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