Yet ironically, another 18.5 km long tunnel between the Karcham and wangtoo is to be planned under the new 1000-MW Karcham-Wangtoo mega hydel project.
The influx of human-confrontation with Satulaj in the name of Hydel projects, which are being executed here, has diverted the centuries old path of the river. Kinnaur district is going to be the biggest looser in terms of environmental degradation, receding of natural water resources, disturbance of vegetation and extensive landslides in the region.
The villagers of tribal Kinnaur district are opposing the hydel project from the last six years. The ongoing rage turned tense when four people got serious injuries by the H.P police firing.
The protestors rue that the proposed 18.5 long tunnel would affect 2000 people of nine Panchayts as they all are situated above the hills on which the tunnel has to be excavated. People say that project would bring deadliest environmental damages to the ecologically fragile Kinnaur. Apart from this project, villagers are opposing the five other projects being planned here.
What environmentalists say:
Local NGO’s and environmentalists supporting the move say that it was a wrong approach to proceed with the execution without taking consent of people to be effected by any projects and also violates the Government of India directions.
Root causes of the Agitation:
Disinterest of state Government
Poor record of Jai Pee Company
Rehabilitation of villagers
Nine panchayts (2000 thousand people) to be affected
It is pertinent to mention here that dozens of mini and mega hydel projects are being planned on Sutlej in the view of to make Himahal Pradesh a hub of hydel power in the country. But the manner in which the projects are mushrooming and the controversies involved, clearly indicates that companies have violated all constitutional and ecological safeguards.
The lack of resources too has crippled the government from closely monitoring the project developments.
The villager’s apprehensions have reason to protest as over the last few years the whole Himalayan region has witnessed the micro dramatic changes in climate. Himalayan glaciers are shrinking with an average of 16-meter every year, Cedar forests are suffering from unknown diseases while the trees of Shisham, Kikar, and Sal (find in the lower belt) are under attack, shortening of winter, receding of water resources are some of eye-opening threats hanging over us.