Dams are robbing Kinnaur of its big cash crop—apples
High altitude dams cause low apple yield
Satya Devi’s 35 apple trees have borne few fruits this year. The 60- year-old blames it on too little moisture in the soil and too much dust in the air that settles on the leaves.
The horticulture department of Hima chal Pradesh agrees. Construction of dams on the Sutlej in Kinnaur district is the prime reason the yields of apple and chilgoza—two big cash crops in the district— have declined, note apple orchardists and state government reports.
Satya Devi has been harvesting apples in her orchard for 25 years. Until five years ago the orchard would fetch her Rs 3 lakh even in adverse weather. This year hardly any apples appeared till June that could be harvested by September. Her village Urni is one of the four in Nichar block underneath which runs a 17-km-long tunnel for Karcham- Wangtoo dam, the biggest of the 34 dams proposed in Kinnaur. It is also one of the three under construction.
“Hundreds of trucks move up and down the hills daily, raising dust,” said Satya Devi. “The company (Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation) has blasted the mountains and thrown the muck along the river. Some times there is so much dust it feels like night in the day time.” Fine particles from the crusher that provides cement for the 98-m-high dam add to the nuisance.
|Flood of dams
Thirty-four dams are proposed on a 50-km stretch of the Sutlej in Kinn - aur. The big ones are: Karcham-Wa - ngtoo (1,000 MW), Jh angi-Thopan Powari (960 MW), Kh ab (960 MW), Shorang (100 MW), Tidong (100 MW) and Kashang-I (66 MW)
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.