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Disaster-struck town was the cradle of the Chipko movement | India News

DEHRADUN: Raini, the town of Chamoli where the disaster struck on Sunday, is the cradle of the Chipko movement started by villagers in the Uttarakhand hills in the 1970s to save trees. Residents of this eco-conscious village say: “We have been crying hoarsely over the great devastation that the hydroelectric project was causing in our area, but no one paid attention.”
Trying to come to terms with the scale of the tragedy that swept through the region leaving a massive trail of devastation on Sunday, villagers said they had reached out to almost all district administration officials as well as the forest department, noting that the central La Rishiganga hydroelectric plant established in 2005 was “being built in contravention of all environmental regulations.”
“We also approached the NGT to protect our biosphere and all nearby villages, but nothing happened and the energy project company continued their work unabated. We have photos of them using rock-breaking bombs. There are dozens of wild animal carcasses. who died after falling into the dam due to bomb blasts. Raini was being killed every day, but the authorities remained deaf and blindfolded, “said SS Rawat, former sarpanch of van panchayat Raini, who was actively involved in filing a petition against the Rishiganga. hydroelectric project.
By the way, the hydroelectric plant is built in the buffer zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which is a world heritage site recognized by the UN.
In their letter to Joshimath’s SDM in May 2019, a copy of which is with TOI, the villagers wrote: “Since the stone crusher works are happening right in the middle of the river, many wild animals, such as deer, leopards, black bears, etc. are entering our village, increasing the risk to wildlife. Despite the fact that the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is a world heritage site, the stone crusher has not been placed not even 10 meters away. ”
When contacted, Nanda Devi DFO NB Sharma Biosphere Reserve said: “The hydroelectric power plant is not in the central zone, but in the buffer zone. And some of the activities in the buffer zones are allowed if the company in issue complies with all relevant clauses established by the ministry. ”

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