The contentious issue of the fate of the Dhari Devi temple at the hydroelectric project in Srinagar,Uttarakhand,along the Ganga has reached the high-level panel led by Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi,which had its first meeting last week on Thursday.
It is learnt that one of the members of the panel,water activist Rajendra Singh,has demanded that the project work be stopped for good as,he claimed,it would destroy the sanctity of the Ganga and the temple deity.
In view of this,the panel has now decided to call those associated with the project for the next meeting scheduled for August 14. Led by L K Advani,a BJP delegation had recently requested the Prime Minister to save the Dhari Devi temple from submergence.
The relocation of the temple,which is visited by thousands of pilgrims on way to Badrinath and also by locals in Uttarakhand,is one of the oldest issues pending since the late 1980s,thanks to the religious sentiments. Devotees and politicians have been opposing a relocation.
The panel has sought the detailed project reports of the 60-plus proposed projects along the river for its consideration. It has now formed a sub-committee headed by the Central Electricity Authority to come up with its findings by the next meeting on the existing as well as the proposed projects.
The meeting viewed three presentations by IIT-Rourkee,the Wildlife Institute of India and the Consortium of IITs. Sources said the Rourkee presentation displayed statistics related to submergence of areas due to many projects along Bhagirathi and Alaknanda.
The Chaturvedi panel is being viewed as the governments last resort in resolving the raging controversy over hydel power projects along the upper reaches of the Ganga especially on Bhagirathi and Alaknanda affecting the free flow and purity of the river.