Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Dark Side of Our Hydropower Projects VII

My petition to allow the Chamkhar Chhu to remain undammed and free-flowing has been read around the world. An academician friend from the UK writes to me as follows:

Hi Yeshey,

I was very heartened to read your petition to keep Chamkhar Chhu free-flowing forever. It seems like one of the critical decisions that Bhutan faces in carrying out the promise and premise of GNH—an inflection point, so to speak. Very few nations still have the opportunity to shape their futures in such fundamental ways. Are you optimistic or pessimistic that Bhutan will make an enlightened choice? 

I was overwhelmed by the emotion and feeling that is resplendent in that short mail. In those four sentences, the friend managed to ask all the important questions that every Bhutanese will have to introspect and answer.

The questions are simple and yet fundamental.

How we decide on the issue I placed before the nation to decide will determine whether we ourselves believe in the promise and premise of GNH. If we dither or renege on the need to keep alteast one river free-flowing for the future generations to exploit this rare water resource in ways that may be more valuable than damming it for hydro-power, it will be a demonstration of the "inflection point" that the friend talks about.

As the friend points out, we are among the very few nations that still have the opportunity to shape our future in very fundamental ways. If we allow this opportunity to pass us by, saying sorry ten years down the line will be nothing more than spit on the sand.

And, everything hinges on the friend’s final question: will Bhutan make an enlightened choice?

Will we? I don't know but I am trying my damndest to convince you to make that enlightened choice. Because I believe that this generation has absolutely no right to exhaust every single water resource this country has, during our lifetime!

The decision to sink this country into debt and despair may not be yours but you might contribute to its salvation by signing at the following:

Another friend in New York sends me an SMS yesterday night asking:

“Didn't understand the first picture in your recent blog …. looks like domestic violence and so out of place with hydro-power….”

Abused and beaten black and blue

I explained to her thus:

The woman in the photo  personify Bhutan - hiding behind a glass curtain - abused and beaten black and blue and yet saying: “But he is sooooo good...!” The hapless and weak wife can do nothing but justify that her hydro-power husband is still good, regardless.

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