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DEHRADUN: Raini, the village in Chamoli the place the catastrophe struck on Sunday, is the cradle of the Chipko motion initiated by villagers within the Uttarakhand hills within the 1970s to avoid wasting bushes. Residents of this ecologically-conscious village say, “We have been crying hoarse over major devastation that was being caused by the hydropower project in our area, but no one paid heed.”
Trying to come back to phrases with the size of the tragedy that swept away the area forsaking an enormous path of devastation on Sunday, the villagers instructed that they’d approached virtually all of the officers of the district administration in addition to forest division stating that the Rishiganga hydropower plant arrange in 2005 was “being built in contravention of all environmental norms”.
“We also approached the NGT to protect our biosphere and all the nearby villages, but nothing happened and the power project company continued its work unabated. We have pictures of them using bombs to break rocks. There are scores of carcasses of wild animals which died after falling into the dam due to the bomb explosions. Raini was being killed every day, but the authorities remained blindfolded and deaf,” mentioned SS Rawat, former sarpanch of van panchayat Raini, who performed an lively function in submitting a petition towards the Rishiganga hydropower challenge.
Incidentally, the hydropower plant is constructed within the buffer zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which is a UN acknowledged world heritage website.
In their letter to the SDM of Joshimath in May 2019, a replica of which is with TOI, the villagers wrote, “Since the stone crusher works are going on right in the middle of river, many wild animals, like deer, leopards, black bears etc. are entering our village, which increases risk to the wildlife. Despite the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve being a world heritage site, the stone crusher has not been set even 10 metres away.”
When contacted, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve DFO NB Sharma mentioned, “The hydropower plant is not in the core zone, but in the buffer area. And some of the activities in the buffer zones are allowed if the company concerned meets all the relevant clauses set by the ministry.”


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