ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mounting Antagonism towards Big Dams

Mounting Antagonism towards Big Dams Chandrashekhar Pant Shripad Dharmadhikary THIS is with reference to the article 'Mounting Antagonism towards Big Dams' by B D Dhawan (May 20). In general, the tone adopted by Dhawan is that anybody and everybody is today criticising the large dams, while irrigation engineers and planners are maintaining a total silence on the issue. He also implies that if they really start speaking out, then the arguments of the critics would stand exposed as baseless. Dhawan talks about hard critics and soft ones, saying that the hard critics raise objections on discipline-specific grounds and that the soft ones have only a woolly understanding of the issue. These distinctions of hard and soft are, in fact, an artificial creation of Dhawan's imagination. In fact, not only are the critics raising very important objections on discipline specific grounds, but are going much beyond this. It is these critics who have really understood the complex nature of water resources, ecology, environment and the interrelations of all these to the development process of the Lountry. Through their understanding of the issue in a holistic manner, these critics are atMe to present an integrated, holistic criticism of the problems of large dams in the socio-political-economic context of our country. It is of course impossible to expect that the irrigation planners, trained as they are to stick to their own disciplines and departments, to even begin to understand this holistic viewpoint. No wonder then, that they, and their spokesman (as Dhawan appears to be), unable to grasp these ideas, are forced to take a defensive stand by calling the critics 'woolly'.

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