Other States

Chopra panel report recommends ‘no dams in paraglacial regions’

The Chopra Committee, which studied the impact of receding glaciers on hydroelectric power projects (HEPs), has in its report objected to the construction of HEPs in regions between 2,200 to 2,500 metres above the sea level (paraglacial regions).

Uttarakhand has 76 dams with a capacity of more than 3,100 MW, in paraglacial regions

The Committee was formed under the direction of the Supreme Court to study whether the HEPs exacerbated the deluge that caused massive destructions in the State in June last year.

Chairman of the committee Dr. Ravi Chopra said: “Seventy-six HEPs of more than 3,100 MW capacity in the State are in paraglacial region. In our report we have proposed that no HEPs should be built in the paraglacial region as it has loose glacial debris which when carried downstream can be disastrous.”

Last June, the Khiron Ganga gushed through the barrage site, around 15 km downstream of Badrinath, and the boulders brought by the river blocked the gates of the 400-MW Vishnuprayag HEP. “….The presence of barrage at Lambagar obstructed the free flow of the hyper-concentrated debris flow creating a temporary lake behind the barrage,” the report states.

When the Khiron Ganga flooded the 400-MW project last year, it brought with it tonnes of glacial debris — moraines — from the paraglacial valley. At present the barrage structure stands clear of the moraines. However, lessons must be learnt from the disastrous events that unfolded last year, Dr. Chopra said.

The report states: “….Under intense rainfall the morainic material, left behind in the past by receding glaciers, cause havoc in the vicinity of HEPs as witnessed at the Vishnuprayag HEP barrage site and below during the June 2013 disaster.”

The site and the downstream areas of Lambagar, Pandukeshwar and Govindghat suffered huge losses when the debris broke the dam structure and gushed to the downstream areas.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 7:08:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/chopra-panel-report-recommends-no-dams-in-paraglacial-regions/article6239114.ece

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