ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Saga Continues

Renuka Dam

Touted as the panacea for Delhi's drinking water problem, this dam can only be constructed by breaking a host of forest and environmental laws and riding roughshod over the livelihoods of farmers in about 30 villages of Himachal Pradesh.

If there is one dam that has a complicated history, even before it has taken off, it is the Renuka project slated to come up in Himachal Pra­desh (HP). The 148-metre dam on the Giri River (a tributary of the Yamuna) will, if ever made, store and supply drinking water for the country’s capital. The national dailies and the government in Delhi would like the public to believe that the project is the panacea for Delhi’s water woes. The project’s fate has been uncertain for the longest time because of “opposition”.

In the layperson’s mind opposition conjures up images of flag-waving “anti-development” activists. In the Renuka Dam case, however, this opposition is not the centrepiece of the scene. The systemic push to make an unviable project seem viable and the inability of the project proponents to comprehend the socio-economic, ecological and technical issues, leavened by state-centre political dynamics are largely responsible for the project virtually coming to a standstill.

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