30 hydroelectric projects have been planned in Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh. There is an immense cost to the environment and to the residents but the government isn’t letting up.
100 MW Tidong-I project, Kinnaur HPClear blue skies, natural springs and glacial peaks-tranquility. Falling stones, landslides and debris-chaos! Kinnaur, located on  the northeastern side of Himachal Pradesh, lets you experience both. It falls in seismic zones IV and V, which means it runs the the risk of damaging and destructive earthquakes. Also, its young mountains lack deep-rooted vegetation making it prone to frequent landslides.

Since extreme circumstances require extreme measures, the locals, also known as Kinners or demigods, have learnt to live by humouring nature. In lower areas, houses are built by erecting concrete walls interspersed with wooden blocks to absorb shockwaves while those residing in upper reaches use stones held together with clay. The roofs are also made of clay supported by wooden beams. Both these designs not only ensure affinity with the surroundings but also insulate against sub zero temperatures experienced in the winters. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?

Then why are residents of Kinnaur having sleepless nights?

Sunila Devi and her family of seven have a house, a beautiful structure made of concrete and wood to suit the conditions in Kinnaur. However, they are worried that it can come down at anytime. Big cracks have developed in the walls now while the joints in doors and roof have come apart. The wooden planks which were interspersed to withstand the tremors are also not of any help. Around 26 other houses in the region are in the same boat. In fact, it isn’t only houses but also terraced farms and apple orchards in the village which have developed big cracks. This has forced villagers to avoid watering them as that will only accelerate the impending disaster of a landslide. Read more

Courtesy: India water portal