• Recently, the World Bank has agreed to look into environmental damage from the under-construction VishnugadPipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP) on the Alaknanda River in Uttarakhand.
  • The panel has considered the request for an enquiry after accepting the Complaints from 83 Local Communities.

Alaknanda River

  • It is one of the headstreams of the Ganga.
  • It rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath glaciers in Uttarakhand.
  • It meets the Bhagirathi River at Devprayag after which it is called the Ganga.
  • Its main tributaries are the Mandakini, Nandakini, and Pindar rivers.
  • The Alaknanda system drains parts of Chamoli, Tehri, and Pauri districts
  • The Hindu pilgrimage center of Badrinath and the natural spring Tapt Kund lie along the banks of the Alaknanda River
  • At Its origin, Lake Satopanth is a triangular lake located at a height of 4402 m and named after the Hindu trinity Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva.
  • PanchPrayag: Five sites in Uttarakhand where five rivers merge into River Alaknanda to ultimately form the holy River Ganga is called PanchPrayag (in Hindi, ‘panch’ means five and ‘prayag’ means confluence).
  • First, Alaknanda meets Dhauliganga river at Vishnuprayag, move on to Nandaprayag to meet Nandakini river then travels to Karnaprayag to join Pindar river. It unites with Nandakiniriver at Rudraprayag and joins the last and the final Bhagirathi river at Devprayag.


  • The 444-MW VPHEP is being built by the Tehri Hydropower Development Corporation, a partially Centre-owned enterprise.
  • The project is primarily funded by the World Bank and was sanctioned in 2011
  • The hydropower project has been targeted to be completed by 30th June, 2023 at the cost of USD 922 million.
  • The project will build a 65-meter diversion dam near Helang village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand to create a small reservoir in the Alaknanda River. 

Way Forward

  • It is recommended that there should be no hydropower development beyond an elevation of 2,200 metre in the Himalayan region.
  • Considering population growth and required industrial and infrastructure growth, the government should be serious in the development of hydro power which is essential for the sustainable growth of the economy, but in a more ecological manner.


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