HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Tribes in HP’s Hangran Valley oppose 3 hydro projects

Bhawani Negi, Hindustan Times  Shimla, May 26, 2014
First Published: 12:42 IST(26/5/2014) | Last Updated: 12:50 IST(26/5/2014)

The tribals in the Hangran Valley in Kinnaur district have threatened to intensify their stir if the state government fails to accede to their demands for no hydro power projects in their areas.

Strongly condemning the construction of the dams, the Hangran Sangarsh Samiti president Shanta Kumar told HT that despite the area being fragile, falling in seismic zone IV and close to the border (3-4 kms aerial distance), the gover nment has planned three projects in the area.

In January 1975, a major earthquake had hit Kinnaur district with a magnitude of 6.8 on richter scale causing major damage, he informed. These included the projects of Khotang 130 MW, Chango Yangthang 180 MW, and Yangthang-Khab 261 MW, that are being constructed on the Spiti river without maintaining the riparian distance of about 1-km between the two power projects, which should be 5-km (Shukla Committee report), he said.

Besides, the construction is in violation of the recommendations of the Shukla Committee report on hydro power projects, he said.

The recommendations suggest of declaration of some areas as “protected zones” under the Environment Protection Act 1986, to help maintain ecological balance.

In August 2010, a committee headed by then additional secretary forest Abhay Shukla constituted by HP high court in 2009 to examine environment fallout, had submitted its report to court and the findings submitted were worrisome.

“No power projects should be constructed above 7000-ft that is in the Alpine zone especially above snowline area and these three power projects fall above 9000-ft in the snowline area,” said Shanta Kumar.

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