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December 11 2012

Flood of protest hits Indian dams


The days when the gigantic Indian rivers — the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra — roar freely down the steep slopes of the Himalayas may be numbered.

Roughly 300 dams are proposed or under construction in the deeply cut valleys of India’s mountainous north, part of a massive effort to meet the country’s spiralling energy demands. But the projects are facing fierce resistance from local communities, as well as from scientists who predict that the dams’ ecological impacts will be much greater than official environmental assessments suggest. “The magnitude of dam building in the Himalayas is overwhelming,” says Kamaljit Bawa, a conservation biologist at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. “They are moving too fast without properly assessing the risks and alternatives.”.

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