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MEGHALAYA VILLAGES OPPOSE DAM ON INDIA’S CLEAREST RIVER

Context:

People of at least a dozen villages fear the death of Umngot River and their tourism-based livelihood if the 210 MW hydroelectric project on Umngot (considered India’s clearest river) comes up.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: Geography (Important rivers and drainage system of India), GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Dams, Hydroelectricity projects)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent news regarding opposition to dam
  2. About Umngot (Dawki) River
  3. About Shillong Plateau

About the recent news regarding opposition to dam

  • The villages are near the border with Bangladesh in East Khasi Hills district but the dam is proposed upstream in the adjoining West Jaintia Hills district.
  • Hundreds of people from more than a dozen villagers obstructed officers from conducting the public hearing at Moosakhia in West Jaintia Hills district.
  • The locals fear that the project, if executed, would cause irreparable losses by wiping out their areas from the tourism map, besides affecting many villages in the downstream areas dependent on the Umngot.
  • The project documents say that people of 13 villages along the Umngot are likely to lose 296 hectares of land due to submergence if the dam comes up.

About Umngot (Dawki) River

  • The Umngot river attracts many tourists to Dawki bordering Bangladesh.
  • Dawki lies between India and Bangladesh and is the trade hub between the two countries.
  • The water of the river is so clear that boats seem to rest on a crystal glass surface besides casting their shadows on the river bed.

About Shillong Plateau

  • Shillong Plateau, highland region in eastern Meghalaya state, northeastern India.
  • It is a rolling tableland and the highest portion of the hill mass that comprises most of Meghalaya.
  • The plateau’s western, northern, and southern escarpments are called the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia hills, respectively.
  • The Shillong Plateau is an outlier of the plateau of peninsular India and is composed primarily of ancient rocks.
  • It contains reserves of coal and iron ore, and limestone is quarried.
Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council - Wikipedia

-Source: The Hindu

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June 2022
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