As Uttarakhand's Joshimath sinks and hundreds of families are forced to leave homes, a video of late Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj is being shared on social media in which she strongly opposes dams built on River Ganga.
Cracks have appeared across Joshimath and sevral buildings have started sinking into the Earth because of subsidence. The video is being shared as a hydropower project close to Joshimath has come under criticism. It has been alleged that the heavy construction and drilling of a tunnel into the Earth as part of the hydropower project has destabilised the region geologically.
In the video, Swaraj says in Parliament that the dams being built on the Ganga and its tributaries will have to be scrapped to save Uttarakhand in the wake of the 2013 Kedarnath disaster. The video is from her time as the then Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
'विकास Vs. विनाश, प्रकृति एक दिन क्रोधित होती है और ऐसी विनाश लीला करती है कि सब तबाह कर जाती है।'— News Tak (@newstakofficial) January 12, 2023
जोशीमठ संकट के बीच स्वर्गीय नेत्री सुषमा स्वराज का वो वीडियो वायरल हो रहा है जिसमें वो उत्तराखंड को लेकर सदन में चिंता व्यक्त करती दिखी थीं।#Joshimath#SushmaSwaraj#Uttarakhandpic.twitter.com/N8zc9wSI0e
Disasters are occurring in Uttarakhand as the Ganga river is being confined in tunnels, says Swaraj in the video from 2013.
She further says, "Whatever amount of money may have been spent over them (dams), it will be less than the amount that will have to be spent over relief and rehabilitation of the displaced...It is not just a coincidence, I want to tell the House that on 16 June 2013, the Dhari Devi temple was submerged, the same day there was a deluge in Kedarnath and everything was destroyed."
NTPC's 520-MW Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric project is under construction on Dhauliganga, a tributary of river Ganga, in the area adjacent to Joshimath and the local people are holding the project responsible for the land subsidence.
Swaraj’s video was also shared by former Union minister and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti on her Twitter handle.
Bharti whose attachment to Uttarakhand is well known has also been against the construction of dams on the Bhagirathi river.
The number of houses that have developed cracks in Joshimath has now risen to 826, of which 165 are in the "unsafe zone", a bulletin from the Disaster Management Authority said on Sunday. So far 233 families have been shifted to temporary relief centres, it added.
In June 2013, flash floods had hit the Kedarnath Valley, killing over 4,000 people.
(With PTI inputs)