Thursday, January 07, 2010

A cry for River Teesta

After looking at the photographs of our Teesta river at Golitar, Singtam, I am in my mind now what are we least prepared for? The pride of Sikkim, the legendary and the so-called great River Teesta now give the impression down in the pages of our great history as “Once upon a time there used to be a River Teesta.” The River Teesta for the people of Singtam obviously has greater outlook attached towards it. Even I recall myself growing along with the Teesta River at Singtam; playing with its waves at river banks. I even have another sentimental attachment with the great river when I ended up the last walk of my mother’s funeral at its river bank as most of the others do. From the summer off cool breeze to the festive occasions celebrated across the river bank at Singtam, now it seems more of a distant part of that glorious past. But now…where is the river?
I was going through the lines at the Wikipedia on the topic of Teesta River and it read:” India has proposed a series of dams within the Teesta River that should produce some 50,000 MW of electricity within the next 10 years. With some of the largest sediment loads, the creation of a reservoir will lead to an increased pressure on an active fault area. There are concerns that the building of these dams may lead to river-induced seismicity.”
So what is this river-induced seismicity? Wikipedia again comes in between and says “In seismology induced seismicity refers to typically minor earthquakes and tremors that are caused by human activity that alters the stresses and strains on the Earth's crust. Most induced seismicity is of an extremely low magnitude.” 

Recently I was at Sirwani Bridge to recollect my old memories, couple of kilometers from Singtam on the way to Dikchu and I was surprised to come across the sight of that place. The Teesta River flowing down the Sirwani Bridge I had enjoyed just the year back was nowhere and replaced with some hydro projects and they had even altered the route of the river. Aaah!! It was the only thing I could speak off at the first instance; I missed that freely flowing River Teesta. I believe that was the most disappointed moments I had ever come across. As one of my good friend told “PROUD TO BE A SIKKIMESE is not worth saying if we see these pictures”.
Photo by Dewan Pradhan