DAINIK NATION BUREAU
In course of the high- profile review meeting on Pancheshwar multipurpose project proposed on Mahakali river (known as Sharda river in India) as convened by the chief secretary S Ramaswami on Tuesday, the ecological assessment and environment management project (EMP) was presented. It is learnt that the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has approved the term of reference of the project after the officials of the ministry concerned had studied 123 villages to be affected, spread over Pithorgarh, Almora and Champawat districts of the state and prepared resettlement and rehabilitation (RR) involving the affected.
By way of rehabilitation, a comprehensive plan has been put into place to ensure the basic amenities for the people to be affected, including new villages, roads, drainage, sanitation, drinking water, post office, panchayat bhawan, community centre, prayer places, hospital, school and PDS shops. Besides, the expenditure to be incurred on rehabilitation and compensation has been fixed too. It was stressed that the plan must ensure livelihood for the people to be uprooted. With this objective in view, development of animal husbandry, horticulture and apiculture aside from skill development training has been stressed on, Besides, tourism would be boosted and self- help groups would be roped in to make the affected people self-sufficient. The officials also said that they would take up local area development projects to facilitate the affected.
Notably, to give final touch to Pancheshwar multipurpose project, the governments of India and Nepal had constituted a Panhcheshwar Dam Authority (PDA) in August 2014. Secretary, Union water resource ministry of India and secretary, environment ministry of Nepal would jointly convene a general meeting to discuss the details of the ambitious bilateral project. Principal secretary, power of the Uttarakhand government, is also a member of the PDA. The project would come up on Mahakali river better known as Sharda river on the Indian side of the frontier. The proposed dam is set to be constructed between below 25 kilometers from the confluence of Saryu and Mahakali rivers and above 70 kilometers from Tanakpur of Uttarakand. As per the agreement between the two countries involved in the project, the hydro power units of both would use the water for irrigation as well as use it to check flood.
During the presentation, it was disclosed that 4800 MW project would be executed with an estimate sum of Rs 40000 crore. While 130 villages, spread over 80 kilometer radius would be affected the catchment area would be 12276 square km of Pancheshwar, 13490 square km of Rupaligarh and 1214 square km stretch of beach areas. The dam would be channelized in Rupaligarh which is 27 km below the Pancheshwer dam. 116 sq km areas would merge under the water reservoir on the completion of the project. With 9100 hectare land to be acquired on the Indian side, 259000 hectare of land on the Indian side and 170000 hectare land on the Nepal side would get irrigation facility.
The crucial meeting was attended among others by the principal secretaries Umakant Panwar, Anand Vardhan and Manisha Panwar, secretaries Amit Negi, Harbans Singh Chugh and Arvind Singh Hyanki, the commissioner central water commission (flood management) Chandrashekhar Ayyar and chief executive officer (CEO) of Nepal government Mahendra Bahadur Gurung.