Himachal to probe Karchham-Wangtoo firing

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Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister today ordered inquiry by the Divisional Commissioner, Shimla, into the firing incident which took place recently at KarchhamWangtoo where the local people were agitating against the 1000MW Karchham-Wangtoo Hydro Electric Project being executed in the private sector and assured action against the people responsible. He said that the state government would consider sympathetically withdrawal of the cases registered against the local people on merit as also withdraw the Section 144 in the project area imposed under the directions of the Hon ‘ble High Court to ensure that the project construction work was not hampered by agitators.

Chief Minister said that the interests of the affected people of the area were safe in his government’s hands and all the provisions of the agreement would be implemented in letter and spirit. He was talking to the delegation of Karchham- Wangtoo Sangharsh Samiti headed by its President Shri Shyam Sunder Negi and accompanied by Shri Vijay Singh Negi of Village Yula, Vice President, Shri Shamsher Singh Negi resident of Burua, Vice President, Shri Diwan Singh Negi, resident of Urni, General Secretary, Shri Partap Singh Negi of village Jani, Treasurer, Shri Virender Singh of village Meeru, Press Secretary, Shri Padam Singh Negi of Ramni, Advisor and executive members Shri Devinder Singh Negi, Pradhan, Gram Panchayat, Rulla, Shri Rup Singh Negi, Pradhan, Gram Panchayat, Punang, Shri Dev Gyanchhan, Up Pradhan, Gram Panchayat, Panvi, Shri Anil Kumar Negi and Shri Jagjeet Singh Negi.

Virbhadra Singh directed the Divisional Commissioner to conduct the inquiry of the incident by according top priority and submit the report to the government for further necessary required to be taken in the matter to provide relief to the affected people. He said that his government would ensure that the interests of the people of the area were safeguarded and provided every benefit they deserve for being the affected party and by virtue of local beneficiaries. He said that his government would ensure that the people who had given their land for the construction of the project were provided best compensation, besides best relief and rehabilitation package, which also included employment and self employment avenues in the project construction. He said that the project authorities would be required to construct the villagers new water supply scheme in the event of any scheme had gone defunct and water sources dried up besides full compensation for the houses damaged due to the blasting activities of the project construction.

Chief Minister said that the project authorities had been directed to spend 1.5 percent of the total project cost over the local development programmes which amounts to Rs. 78 crores and could be utilized for the construction of community centres, restoration of temple, construction of sarai, school, hospital and other buildings of common use of the people of the area. He said that additionally Rs.45 crore were also required to be spent over construction and improvement of state and Border Roads Organization roads etc. in the area. He said that the Catchment Area Treatment Plan would also be implemented in the right perspective so that the fragile ecology of the area was not disturbed and soil erosion was checked. He said that the project authorities would also be required to participate in the community welfare activities.

Virbhadra Singh said that the agreement for implementation of the Karchham- Wangtoo Hydro Electric Project was signed by the previous government and the work on the same was started later on. He said that his government was committed to get the work on the project completed and extend best cooperation to the executing agency. He said that his government would ensure that the promises made by the company with the local people and the provisions of the agreement were implemented in the right spirit and people provided relief.

Chief Minister said that his government would also consider re-evaluation of the compensation provided to the people of the area while constructing the 300MW Baspa hydro Electric project by the same company which has been allotted the Karchham-Wangtoo Hydro Electric Project for execution. He said that the people who had been making sacrifice of giving their ancestral land for the construction of the project required to be compensated handsomely so that they did not feel cheated. He said that all out efforts would be made get the due to the affected people in the earlier project as well.

Virbhadra Singh said that his government was conscious of the environmental aspect while allotting hydro electric projects for execution in the state and had earlier as well cancelled a number of them to safeguard the ecology of the state as well as the interests of the people. He said that his government would not permit any development at the cost of environment and people of the state. He appealed to the people of the Kinnaur district to cooperate with the state government in maintenance of the law and order in the project site and extend their cooperation in completion of the project while the state government would vouch for their interests at all level.
Press note via Himachal I&PR Dept.

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