NEW DELHI: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said he came under sharp attack as environment minister when he stopped hydel projects on rivers in Uttarakhand as the cumulative impact of the projects were not taken into consideration.
His comments came two days after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, triggering an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations and endangered lives of people living along the banks.
"As environment minister, I came under sharp attack for stopping hydel projects on Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and other rivers in Uttarakhand on ecological grounds. We weren't considering the cumulative impacts of these projects. I can't help but recall that now," he said on Twitter.
The death toll from the Uttarakhand glacier disaster rose to 31 with five more bodies being recovered, officials said on Tuesday as multiple agencies raced against time to reach about 30 workers trapped inside a tunnel in a power project site and 175 people remained missing.
Home Minister Amit Shah said in Parliament that as many as 197 people are missing after Sunday's avalanche and flash floods in Uttarakhand.
Relief is being distributed by helicopters among villagers cut off due to the washing away of a bridge in the avalanche at Malari.