Month-Long Hunger Strike Stops Himalayan Dam Construction

A well-respected Indian scientist nearly died after a 38-day hunger strike in protest of construction on a hydropower dam on a tributary of the Ganges river.


AD Agarwal, a 77-year-old former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi at Kanpur, began his strike last month when the Indian government refused to study the impacts of the dam before beginning work. The Ganges river’s free-flowing abundance is sacred in Hindu culture.

While construction on this dam has stopped for now, it is only one of thousands planned in the Himalayas region, and the non-profit International Rivers says very little environmental investigation has been performed on any of them. One particular concern is that global warming would overwhelm the dams with excessive silt and water, resulting in disastrous breeches.

“The impact of global warming is already being felt much more in the Himalayas than in other parts of the world,” reads a report from the organization. “This is resulting in the accelerated melting of glaciers and the depletion of the massive water store of the region. There are real fears the snow-covered mountains [will turn] into bare, rocky mountains. As glaciers melt, water in the rivers will rise, and dams will be subjected to much higher flows, raising concerns of dam safety.”


[Via Guardian]
Photo Credit: rahuldlucca on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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