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Alakananda River Endangered by Hydroelectric Projects

Alakananda River is one of the most important headstreams of Ganga River. Alaknanda, a glacial river, meets Bhagirathi River at Devprayag in Uttarakhand and later turns to Ganga. But Alakananda is now drying up even before it meets Ganga due to huge hydroelectric projects. In short, this will endanger River Ganga and badly affect its flow.

Alakananda River is a holy river and legend it has that Alakananda was formed while Mother Ganga descended on to earth. Badrinath Temple is located on the banks of Alakananda River.

D S Kunwar writes in Times of India about the drying up of Alakananda

Alaknanda, which once sliced through the Lambagar area just below the 400 mw Vishnu Prayag hydroelectric power project in Chamoli, doesn’t flow there any more. Reason: heavy construction work for a hydroelectric project has forced it to change its course. Environmentalists warn that a delicate ecological balance in the area has been gravely imperilled and say that up to 26 km of riverbeds along the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi have begun to dry up.

In the case of Alaknanda, the tragedy unfolded soon after the Uttarakhand government cleared the construction of a 12-km-long tunnel and a four-storeyed hydro-electric project in Chamoli about two years ago. Apparently, the explosives used to build the project in the nearby river area and the debris of the construction material played a major role drying up of the riverbed. ‘‘This is killing the flora and fauna of the region,’’ says Dehradun-based senior scientist N Ravi Chopra, who conducted a detailed research on the major causes of the drying up of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi riverbeds.

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