Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Are we next?

Since its inception the Chixoy, Guatemala's largest dam, has generated more ills than electricity. Unwilling to put up with more, on September 8, 500 Maya Indians seized control of it and threatened to cut off power supplies. The protests also sent out warning signals to the government which has only recently announced plans to build more such large new dams — including two on the Chixoy River itself.

The 500 protesters largely comprised survivors of the brutal army massacres carried out more than 20 years ago. "No new dams can be built until they right the wrongs done to the people of Chixoy,' said protest leader Juan de Dios, voicing the demands of his peers. Dios said the
dam's main turbines would be shut off unless the government met community leaders.

The Chixoy produces 275 megawatts of energy, accounting for 60 per cent of Guatemala's electricity. Located in the Mayan highlands, the dam has been controversial ever since development plans were first drawn up in the midst of bitter army repression during Guatemala's 36-year civil war. In 1980, the army and
paramilitaries killed 300 people from the village of Rio Negro, upstream from the proposed dam, after they refused a relocation offer.

The survivors are also seeking compensation from the World Bank, the main funding body that had aided the dam's construction. Even after an internal review had confirmed the atrocities, the bank continued to support the project, claim the angry Mayans.

(courtesy: indiaenvironmentportal )

When will the time come to realize that, there are far better avenues we can work out together to make things better for Arunachal. Now, did we ever believe Politicians and their chamchas could work wonder... Do we have to believe them this time as well?
A question we certainly should be asking ourselves.



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