Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar on Monday said infrastructure projects should not be launched without properly assessing their ecological impact as she extended support to the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti.
Arriving in the subsidence-hit Uttarakhand town on Monday, Patkar apologised for visiting late.
"The Joshimath crisis is a warning bell. The authorities must wake up to the damage caused by mega development projects to the fragile Himalayan ecology," she said.
Infrastructure projects should not be launched without properly assessing their impact on the ecology, Patkar added.
She also addressed a meeting organised by the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti on the tehsil premises and said she stood with the affected people.
The Samiti's 11-point list of demands includes the permanent scrapping of the NTPC's Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel power and the Helang-Marwadi bypass road projects that, it feels, are responsible for the subsidence crisis in Joshimath. It has also demanded that the entire town be declared disaster-hit.
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Meanwhile, protesting against Patkar's visit, scores of BJP workers reached the venue and raised slogans against her.
Rishi Prasad Sati, Joshimath's former municipal president who was among the protesting BJP workers, said the state government is dealing with the problem well.
Calling the agitation unnecessary, Sati said it has ruined the local economy and alleged that the agitators have nothing to do with Joshimath.
Patkar later told reporters that she has been associated with mass movements in different places across the country and added she has nothing to do with any political party.
"Joshimath is actually a warning from the Himalayas. Similarly, the Western Ghats is giving a warning to Kerala. Satpura is also giving warnings, every river is getting wasted due to which a cycle of drought and flood is being created and even people living near riverbanks are yearning for water," she said.
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