Well, hey there, I hope you all are healthy and doing good. Let’s get down to conversate about WHY IS MEDIA NOT COVERING UMNGOT RIVER DAM CONTROVERSY?
The mainstream media is busy covering the rallies of different politicians in this election season. Citizens of nearly 12 villages are protesting in Meghalaya against the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited’s (MECL). Decision to build a 210 MW hydroelectric project over the Unmgot river.
THE CRYSTAL CLEAR RIVER
If you heard this name for the first time, let me tell you that Umngot is one of India’s cleanest river. It is also known as “the crystal clear river”. This river serves as a natural division between Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Finally flows into Bangladesh, acting as a border between them.
This proposed 210 MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project is built over this Umngot river between East Khasi Hills district and West Jaiñtia Hills district.
THE PROTEST FOR UMNGOT RIVER
The opposition of local people to this hydroelectric project noticed. When protesters disrupted two of the public hearings organized by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board.
The protesters mainly include the farmers and landlords of these villages. But before understanding the current scenario, we will have to understand the reason behind this upheaval.
Our country has witnessed many complex protests against these dam-building projects. This time around, the reasons for the objection seem pretty straightforward. Following are some of the significant points that the protesters have raised –
- There is a fear in landlord and farmers mind their land will become immersed in dam construction.
- They fear that there will also be a loss in the area of cultivable land.
- One of the major concerns is the potential loss in tourist attractions.
Many tourists visit this region because of this river and therefore provide the locals with an opportunity to earn. According to villagers, the dam can lose the beauty of the region.. There will be a significant loss in the tourist attraction.
Alan West Kharkongor, president of the Meghalaya Rural Tourism Forum, said. “Everyone is against the mega-dam project as their livelihood is dependent on the river”.
4.Construction of dams also causes seasonal drying up of rivers, affecting a very large part of the people living there.
NEED OF THE DAM ON UMNGOT RIVER
If there are so many obvious reasons for not constructing a dam, why did the authority decided to do so? The reason is that the government is trying to build a reservoir and provide electricity to the people living there.
MeECL’s report says that “the project is proposed to be implemented with a dual objective of narrowing the gap between demand and supply of power as well as the adverse ratio of hydro and fossil fuel power generation.”
Further, the report also mentions that there will be an improvement in the health and education system of the region. If the electricity supply is stable.
As mentioned above, there have been many such instances regarding the construction of dams. The only difference is that today’s mainstream media very nonchalantly moves away from these topics to the topics that have the scope of providing them more audience.
The biggest problem, in this case, is the communication gap between the authorities and the protestors. People are protesting for a week now. They interrupted the public meetings, but none of the two sides has made a significant effort to discuss the topic.
For now, the best we as citizens can do is to spread this news more and more so that the concerned authorities feel the pressure of making a decision as soon as possible. Hope that the beauty of Unmgot and many such rivers will not destroyed in the name of development.
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