All entries for October 2004
October 19, 2004
Writing about web page Guardian Unlimited 2.10.04The Omkareshwar dam on the River Narmada in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is in the early stages of construction and could force the relocation of 50k people. It is one of a series proposed which could eventually force the relocation of in excess of 600k people. The Guardian is not aware of any impact studies and resettlement plans have not been finalised.
The World and other banks have refused finance because of environmental and social concerns and although Barclays denies providing finance it admits recieving fees for advising.
Villagers already being relocated have been told to destroy their own homes if they want land elsewhere. However German human rights group, Urgewald, states that the relocation site looks more like a refugee camp without electricity or amenities. The villagers claim the site is remote and they will be unable to earn a living as the area is unsuitable for agriculure.
October 17, 2004
As I see it consultants put forward the case for such schemes to the Government of a developing country. The Government, pursuaded of the cost benefits, employs consultants and contractors to carry out the scheme. The consultants and contractors are paid, leaving the country in debt. What are the consequences if the consultants projections fail to materialise.
Problems related to dams include silting up, maintenance, reduced water flow below the dam can affect agriculture and hydro electric projects down stream (this being very relevant for neighbouring countries). There is also the problem of the displaced people and the loss of fertile valley land.
Scemes I am aware of include the 7 Gorges on the Yangtse in China where entire cities are being relocated and a proposed dam in Turkey which could have serious consequences for neighbouring Syria. I believe there is alsoa project planned for the upper Nile which will impact on neighbouring countries. I have also seen a project in Peru were waters from the Colca river have been diverted and I believe has not given the cost benefits projected