Manali villagers oppose small hydro projects on Vashisht streams

Manali: Irate residents of Vashisht, Mathiana and Koshla villages, close to Manali are up in arm against construction of hydropower project on the streams flowing at Vashist village.

At an extra-ordinary meeting called by the Vashisht Panchayat, the members present decided to cancel the mandatory no object certificates (NoC)required for executing mini hydro projects on streams and rivers.

Hundreds of villagers who attended the meeting voted for withdrawing the NoCs issued to Khanoni Mini-Hydro and Jaid Mini Hydro power projects that are to come up on the said stream.

Whereas the executive body of Vashisht panchayat had issued NOCs for the projects earlier, they had to mandated by the full house of the local body, the issue which was discussed at the extra ordinary meeting.

It is reliably learnt that earlier both these project were intended to be established by Vashisht Hydro Power Project Co- Operative Society.

 “Members of  Gram Sabha  unanimously resolved to cancel the NOCs issued for setting up these Mini- hydro Power Projects,” said Murlidhar  Negi  a social activist and environmentalist  from  Koshla  village while  interacting  with Hill post.

He added that in case power projects were allowed to come up on the stream, both the environment  and ecology as well as adequate supply of water both for drinking and irrigation use would be adversely affected.

The streams of Ghrat Nallah, Sarswati Nallah,  Chadhyari Nallah,  Mathiana Nallah and Jaid Nallah have been meeting the water requirements the panchayat residents since times immemorial, “ says Panna Lal, a resident of Vashisht village. of  water

Gupt Ram Thakur, a functionally of Goddess Jogni temple, registering a strong protest against establishment of any hydropower projects in the area asked the government to not allow anybody to interfere with the natural wealth and environment of the area.

Earlier, Vashisht Villagers had successfully agitated to force the government to scrap a 1 MW Chhor Nallah mini hydro power project.

When contacted, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Balbir Thakur denied that he had received any communication from Vashisht residents about withdrawing NOCs for mini hydro power project in question.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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