Himachal polls-2017: In CM Virbhadra Singh’s battlefield, 15 villages threaten to boycott polls
The villagers, demanding rehabilitation, said that they have been facing problems of air and noise pollution ever since the plant was set up in the area.HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Oct 29, 2017 16:13 IST
Perturbed over the environmental hazards from a cement plant set up in the area, over 10 villages in chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s battlefield Arki have decided to boycott the November 9 elections.
The villagers, demanding rehabilitation, said that they have been facing problems of air and noise pollution ever since the plant was set up in the area.
“Our life has become a living hell. We are running from pillar to post. The government is only giving us assurances,” said BR Sharma, a resident of Pachhiwar village.
The villages which are boycotting the elections include Khata, Baga, Suli, Bated, Koon, Pachhiwar, Sar, Damras, Jablu, Rauri, Dabaru, Dhawni, Paleri, Sulag and Sadheru.
“We were given scores of assurances but nothing has happened. Houses in the area are now developing cracks,” said Jagdish Sharma, a resident of Rauri village, who lives close to the plant. Sharma, who is the convener of the Cement Plant Affected Farmers’ body, said, “We held a meeting on Friday and decided to boycott the election. We will inform authorities about our issues too. A government which does not listen to such sensitive issues is of no use to us.”
The villages which are boycotting the elections include Khata, Baga, Suli, Bated, Koon, Pachhiwar, Sar, Damras, Jablu, Rauri, Dabaru, Dhawni, Paleri, Sulag and Sadheru. “There are a few other small villages too which are affected by the cement plant,” Sharma said.
“Are we asking for something unjustified? Our life has become difficult. Many people living here are suffering from respiratory and skin diseases. No one is bothered about our plight,” said SL Sharma of Koon village of the area.
The plant started production in 2010 and is produces 10,000-MT cement a day. Villagers claimed that they were against the setting up of the plant. “Some houses are even located within a radius of six to 15 metres from the boundary wall of the plant,” said DR Thakur of Baga village, adding, “We don’t know how the government gave permission to set up the plant in the area.”
The villagers will submit a memorandum to the election commission on Saturday regarding their decision to boycott the November 9 election.