Exactly a year ago, our prime minister, in his campaign speech just before the Uttarakhand state elections, declared from the podium in Pithoragarh town that he was going to make sure that he brought development to the region through the long-pending Indo Nepal project – building Pancheshwar Dam on Mahakali river, which forms the border between the two countries.
In the last 365 days, every authority concerned with the project – that was first conceptualised in the 1960s – has gone into overdrive to ensure that the prime minister’s words are kept. The detailed project report was said to be final, the environment and social impact assessment reports were submitted, public consultations in three affected districts were rushed through, the environment ministry’s expert committee visited the area and submitted a report, the forest clearance papers were submitted only to be returned with questions and district officials have been running helter-skelter for no objection certificates from the 134 affected villages. Never mind that rules were bent and procedures overlooked in this process. Read More