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Indians Protest to Stop Dams on Mother Ganga

Susanne Wong
World Rivers Review, March 2008

For 15 days in January, hundreds of men, women and children marched across river valleys of India’s Uttarakhand state to raise awareness about government plans to build dams. The government intends to build 220 large, medium and small dams in the upper reaches of the Ganges River basin, the country’s holiest of rivers. Organizers say the scheme will transform the sacred Ganges into a plumbing system with all of the life engineered out of it.

“Our lakes and rivers, even the sacred Ganga, are in a rapidly deteriorating state. Our lives, work and cultures are threatened. If things go on unchecked, the continued existence of many villages is in question,” said Dr. Ravi Chopra of the Uttarakhand Nadi Bachao Abhiyan. Most of the upper reaches of the Ganga will dry out with the extensive damming, critics argue. [more]