It is completely perplexing till today whether it happened for good or bad and if both then for whom was it good and for whom bad. It is a question of perception and each person’s understanding, however, the stories and sacrifices accompanied by the making of Tehri dam are worth knowing. It wouldn’t have been easy at all, the decision which impacted a lot of people’s emotions and living would have been hell tough and maybe that is the reason the story is marked in the history of Uttarakhand forever. Tehri dam is known to each one of us as the largest dam in India and the 8th largest dam in the world. It gained popularity in no time, but it was mainly in news for the controversies it created and the protests and political mess it gave birth to.
Let’s answer your curious questions.
Tehri dam or lake as most people know it is situated at a small town of Old Tehri near the Bhagirathi and Bhilangna rivers of Uttarakhand. The town was quite famous because of the Chipko movement which started from there as a movement to save forests from being cut down. As soon as the movement came to peace, the town was chosen as a site for a large and ambitious power project that shook everyone.
The town of Old Tehri was a beautiful place and was once the capital of Tehri dynasty. The making of the dam meant that the entire town was in danger and that people would have to relocate from the place forever. This was not accepted by the residents of the town for obvious reasons. Who would want to leave his native place and see it drowning? It was a tough time for Tehri. The government also supported the people but none of the protests worked in the favor of people. Later the dam was created over the town and the entire Old Tehri got submerged under the Tehri lake as if it was meant to. A population of around 1 Lakh was relocated to New Tehri and the rest became history.
There is still the entire town of Old Tehri under the lake and its whereabouts can be seen from the nearest Koti colony but eventually, the name and fame of the town faded in no time. It is saddening to know that the landmarks of the place cannot be spotted either, all you will find is scraps and water all around the valley. A big, happy town founded by Maharaja Sudarshan Shah lives in just photographs and memories of people.
Though the submerging of a town is a huge cost for the making of a power project, we cannot deny the fact that it is the largest hydroelectric power project in India and is also the largest man-made lake in Asia. Also, this alone project supplies about 270 million gallons of drinking water to many states of India and generates about 2400 MW electricity and is a big and benefitting project for the present and future of India. It is insensitive to say that whatever happened in the process was for good, but everything comes with a cost and so did it. It surely hurt many sentiments and hearts, but life goes on the right. So, this is the story behind the making of the Tehri dam and the truth that is now submerged under the water. It has become a popular tourist attraction and in case you are also inquisitive to see what it looks like, Tehri welcomes you with the open heart.