18 Oct 2007

The lake behind the dam

a few days back
i had a chance to go on a boat ride
at the lake formed by the tehri dam

for the past four years
i had been crisscrossing the area
watching the lake fill up
drowning the abandoned town of Tehri
this trip had an eerie feeling
like visiting a place after a great flood

at the centre of the lake
now it is almost one and half kilometers deep !
(near the dam the markers show 800 metres)
as the boat chugged along
i looked down into the waters
searching for the clock tower
that stood out for so many years
as the dam filled up

in Robert Edric's Gathering the Water
set in the mid 19th century
the protagonist is sent to a
rural area in England
to oversee the filling up of a dam
and ensure that the population is evacuated

i almost felt like
i had been sent by
someone to file a report on the dam
after the land has been filled by the lake

so why am i writing about
the tehri
on this blog?

well most of the project
has been aimed at providing electricity and water to
the NCR (Delhi and cities nearby)

true that New Tehri
is well planned
and the displaced people have been compensated
but recent news about the dam is disturbing
it has been filling up too fast
the policeman was pointing out that
they will have to move out their chowki further up
next summer

as of now they have no clue how high
the waters will rise
i just hope it doesn't
become a situation when they will have to release waters
during the monsoon
and flood cities downstream
like it happened with Surat last year

at that time there were normal rains in the city
but dams upstream overflowed
when the waters were released one third of the city

the Tehri dam
is supposed to hold enough water to flood
upto Delhi
and remember it is on an earthquake prone zone

as my ride came to an end i was left with the feeling that
each time we build a large project
it is time for us to pause and think of alternatives



Pink Jalebi said...

scary, sad and ironic.

brilliant entry, s!

CoolMood said...

Very apt observations...and very scary too...

Its really surprising how we proudly assert on the number of flyovers, dams, highways, coming up everyday in the NCR area...giving little thought to the havoc they might create in case of any natural crisis!

And soon…this blog will also be forgotten in the midst of everyday transactions….and we will soon be reading the news of the inauguration of new dam in the news papers!