SHIMLA: The State Committee of Communist Party of India- Marxist has justified the action of local residents against the private company officials in the affected villages of Kinnaur where the 243 MW Kashang Power Project is being made. The villagers who had picketed at the site and had besieged the officials of Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation and Hindustan Construction Company were demanding adequate compensation for the land and destruction of their apple orchards in the project area.
The CPI-M said the company had promised to maintain roads in the area and had pledged employment to the local population in this ADB funded project but had done neither.
The government should seriously take up the issues of rehabilitation, resettlement and compensation and devise a comprehensive hydro power policy in the State, said Tikender Panwar leader of CPI-M. He said all the mainstream parties should be taken into confidence in making a long term hydro policy for the hill State.
The CPIM has stated, the government cannot just hibernate on these issues and has to ensure that the demands of the people are met. The party would like to reiterate that there exists a strong nexus in between the political fixers who normally are the local henchmen of the ruling party, the bureaucrats and of course the company that is executing the project. One such facilitation was made by a former senior police official in Kullu district who has now been declared a proclaimed offender by a court here.
Since the majority of agricultural land has gone under various upcoming projects in the State the people should not just be compensated but must get a share in the future earnings from such hydro power projects, said the left party.
KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.