In a rare sight, the ruling Congress party, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist party of India, Marxist (CPM) came together to join the protest demonstration of Jayee hydro project labourers, who have been demanding revision of wages besides regularisation of employment.
The protest also saw participation of local residents who have been affected by the hydel project. Led by BJP, Congress and CPM leaders, hundreds of people converged at Tapri and shouted slogans against the Jaypee group.
CPM state secretariat member, Tikender Singh Panwar, said: "People of Kinnaur are innocent but Jaypee project administration has been exploiting them." He said the fact that political parties came together to join the protest showed "how big the problem is".
The others included former legislator and CPM leader, Rakesh Singh, Shimla municipal corporation Mayor, Sanjay Chauhan, deputy mayor Tikender Panwar, CPM leader Onkar Shad, Kinnaur district Congress president, Umesh Negi, former BJP district president, Surat Negi.
President of the workers' union, Jeevan Negi, zila parishad member of Nichar, Sanjeev Negi, vice president of Urni panchayat, Sonam Giacho besides a dozen panchayat pradhans also took part in the protest.
"Around 816 workers are from construction wing and they should have been regularised when the project came into generation," Jeevan Negi told HT over phone.
The protesters also slammed the district administration and successive governments for working in the interests of the Jaypee management. "Jaypee has developed an orchard on 73 bighas of land in Sherpa colony and Kupa village. Due to unscientific and heavy blasting, the entire hill on the right bank of the river has become vulnerable to landslides," Panwar added.
The protesters gave a 10-day ultimatum to the management to settle all issues and also to the administration to release local area development funds.
District administration fully prepared
Another protest demonstration is scheduled to be held on February 24. Superintendent of police, Kinnaur, Rahul Nath, said adequate forces would be deployed to prevent any law and order situation.