Shimla, January 15
The Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective today said that the Directorate of Energy should send a team of safety experts to the site of seepage from the tunnel of the 180 MW Bajoli Holi hydro-power project in the Bharmour area of Chamba, which was damaging the houses of villagers.
The environment group released a fact-finding report of recent landslides and damage caused to houses in the Bajoli Holi project area; it has been documenting the environmental impacts of mega development projects in Himachal. The group members visited Jharauta village of Holi panchayat in Bharmour tehsil of Chamba on January 3 and 4 to assess the damage caused.
Started on Dec 19
As per the locals, seepage was first noticed on the left side of the village on December 19, 2021. Later, more seepage appeared, landslides happened frequently, and cracks started showing up. —Vivek Negi, Member of environment group
“Facing threat to their houses due to seepage from the tunnel, the angry residents of Jharauta village have demanded that the project work be immediately stopped and a team of safety experts be sent to the area,” said Vivek Negi, a member of the fact-finding team.
“As per the testimonies of locals, seepage was first noticed on the left side of the village on December 19, 2021. Later more seepage appeared, landslides happened frequently, and cracks started showing up. Seepage is still continuing but people have no idea if testing has been stopped,” he added.
She said that it was urgent to assess and examine threat for the rest of the area in near future. “Women of Holi panchayat had organised a month-long dharna at the place where seepage first started in 2014,” added Asher. People had apprised the administration that the area was geologically fragile and there would be a threat to life and property but to no avail,” she added.
Citing a 2015 study of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), Negi claimed that 56 per cent of the power projects in Himachal faced a serious threat of landslide hazards.