Himachal Kishan Sabha threaten to stall work on SJVN’s Rampur project

Shimla: Himachal Kishan Sabha (HKS) has threatened to stall work on a major hydroelectric power project being executed by a central public undertaking unless problems of projected affected people and an ongoing agitation by workers was not resolved peacefully.

President of HKS, Kuldip Tanwar let media persons know that SJVN, the public sector undertaking which was executing the Rampur 440 MW project in Satluj valley was not meeting its commitments towards the 8 villages that are in the project affected area.

“Recent blasting for executing the head race tunnel for the project has damaged a lot of houses and most of the natural streams and other water sources in the area have dried up, causing scarcity. The public undertaking that was supposed to duly compensate the damages caused and augment water needs in the area is not meeting its obligations,” said Tanwar.

Even the annual Rs 2.5 crore, which was to be provided for local area development, is not being released, he added.
Showing solidarity with workers of Rampur project who are on strike for the last four days, he said that unless all pending farmers and workers issues were not resolved soon, the Sabha would join the workers and completely hold up work on the project from 7th March.

SJVN, a ‘Mini Ratna’ CPSU which is in the process of divesting 10 % equity in the company is in advanced stage of constructing the Rampur project that is being executed through Gammon India and Patel Engineering. Whereas this project is scheduled for commissioning by January 2012 but is running behind schedule. SJVN also operates the 1500 MW Jhakri project, which is the country’s largest hydro power project.

Talking about issues confronting the farmers, Tanwar said Jaal-Jungle aur Zamin (water, forest and land) issues were destabilizing rural populations and successive elected governments that should be standing with the people in distress situation were protecting corporate interests in the name of development, he said.

Citing the recent clash between protesting farmers and contractors of a small power project company in Saal Ghati in Chamba, he said that micro hydel projects were blatantly encroaching upon farmers rights upon drinking water or small irrigation schemes and affected people were demanding scrapping of such projects.

Speaking on the occasion Sanjay Chauhan, state treasurer HKS said that they would not allow shutting down of the carton manufacturing unit in Kotkhai, which the government was trying to sell very cheaply. For an asset value of the unit that was more than Rs 80 crore, the unit was attempted to be sold by bypassing cabinet approval and the tendered value for it received was just Rs 1.08 crore, alleged Chauhan. “Such loot we will not allow,” he said.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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3 Comments

  1. says: Mohan Verma

    Dear Makhaik,
    The write up finely touch each issue raised by Mr. Tanwar. The issue of ‘water, forest and land’ nicely explore the whole piece
    Mohan Verma
    Shimla

  2. says: Avnish Katoch

    Most of the times agitations by locals for hydels or other environmentally hazard projects are seen by government as a roadblock towards development. On this platform Mr. Makhaik has done amazing work, where we have in depth reports about various issues and analysis.

    Unfortunately not a single time HP govt official cared about putting forward their views. Or for that matter lets say hydel companies.

    That shows only two attitudes:

    1. Local population is stupid and they will do whatever they want to do.

    2. They just don’t care.

    Now all this is not party related, both party governments look for quick fixes. Problem is politicians have become richer and aam aadmi, who was earlier deprived of succesful avenues to build a better life, is now deprived of basic rights of land, air and water.

    It’s so disheartening that very same politicians also would breath same air, which will be polluted, they also would be deprived of clean water, our streams (which use to be famous for some amazing minerals) and land which day by day is becoming less fertile. At the end of the day a humane is just a puppet in the hands of these basic elements. Once disturbed, it won’t care about rich or poor.

    From start, Himachal is God gifted state, with best environment and abundant natural resources. Instead of utilising these for betterment of our future generation, past and current government has started a journey which for sure looks destructive.

    One also needs to find if those who are at the helm, carry the capabilities to take care of such huge responsibilities. And time has proven they lack even basic skills.

    One request to those who care about this land, please be united. We are exploited because we are never together.

    God bless my motherland!

  3. hello,i have gone through the whole issue.local people of villagers are not well awared about their problems which they will face on later stage,hydro companies purchased their land through patwaries and threat them through forest guard and even by police.they hired good local advocates also.hydro companies also give bribe to officers and even higher level.in this all benefits goes to CITU and CPM like organisations, they also earn from these agitations they have no interest of solving problems of locals but they get cash from both sides,they have their whole time paid workers in these projects who instigate the locals. one thing we all forget that all these hydro and cement companies are coming i himachal or other places like orissa and west bengaal uttarakhand etc for raning money.if they invest higher amount in land and employments etc how they will compete ? we never come forward to convince the hydro companies and govt.to make relief rehablitation plan in such a way that it give actual relief to the affected failies. catchment area plan amount given to the forest department totally failed.no one get employment and no where green cover increased.so sir these are not the facts,kishan sabha CITU cpM none of them are interest of the local farmers

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