Dams, hydroelectric projects don’t harm environment; calls for study to find that: R K Singh

Power Minister R K Singh on Wednesday brushed aside apprehensions that water storage or dam projects, which also generate hydro electricity, harm environment, and urged experts to commission an authoritative and scientific study to find out the truth.

Speaking at a symposium on sustainable development of dams and river basins, Singh said, “I have not seen science of environment being harmed. I see science of progress in this (water storage). Punjab and Haryana developed and they are where they are today because of Bhakra Nangal dam.”

He further said, “If you ask any person in Bihar, then his dearest wish is to construct large dams on the river Kosi in Nepal. Wherever we constructed large dams, we have improved the lives of people…generations. This is the message we need to convey.”

He brought attention toward pushback to water storage or dam projects in the country by NGOs (non-government organisations) or civil societies which claim that these would harm environment.

The minister said, “In our country, there is a decade or two of push back (to water storage projects) by NGOs without any authoritative study that says that dams are harmful to environment.”

Currently, India is developing around 14,000 megawatts of hydropower generation capacity.

He said, “In water resources, in the past decade also, we have faced headwinds in harnessing our water resources. There was concerted movement against harnessing the water, dams, against any project which sought to harness our water resources.”

He said the movement still persists. “That push back against dams still persists. That is something which we have to address.”

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