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Pindar’s last gush: Will it vanish into history?

Dam proposed on the Alaknanda’s last unrestricted tributary stirs locals.

Bharat Lal Seth / July 21, 2011
Business Standard

The people of Chepdu village in the Pindar valley treasure the fair held every June in memory of an army man from the region who was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra. This year, however, his widow, Bimla Joshi, has cancelled it. She cannot accept the Rs 3 lakh that SJVN (formerly Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) Ltd offered for arrangements. The public sector undertaking plans to build a 252-Mw hydel project and a dam on the Pindar river in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.

The village agrees with Bimla. The Pindar is the only tributary of the Alaknanda whose flow is yet to be obstructed by a dam. “When we are born, the water of the Pindar is poured over us. Our last rites are performed in the same river,” says Bimla, who has lived half her life as a widow. “I cannot allow the company to capitalise on my husband’s name.”

The dam would threaten the life and ways of 20,000 inhabitants of the district; it will reduce the river’s 22-km stretch to a mere trickle. [more]