Floods bare conflicts from hydropower boom in Uttarakhand

Raini, Feb 22 (Reuters):
Growing up in a remote tribal village high in the Indian Himalayas, Kundan Singh loved to play on a field by the sparkling Rishiganga river. The 48-year-old recalls afternoons there competing in sports tournaments, surrounded by forests of pine.
Fifteen years ago, bulldozers descended on Raini village to build a dam, part of a push by India to increase hydroelectric power. The field was lost, and villagers have been in conflict with the Rishiganga Hydropower Project ever since. The dam was swept away two weeks ago in a flash flood that also smashed bridges and another hydroelectric power station in the Dhauliganga river valley of Uttarakhand, leaving over 200 feared dead. Whatever the role of climate change, which is rapidly heating the world’s highest mountains, experts say rampant construction is adding to the burden weighing on rural communities across the Himalayas.

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