Villagers threaten to shut down power house over ‘due compensation’
Residents of 14 villages, affected by the setting up of a hydroelectric power project in Srinagar town of Pauri Garhwal district, plan to shut down the local power house on August 1Updated: Jul 29, 2018 22:08 IST
Residents of 14 villages, affected by the setting up of a hydroelectric power project in Srinagar town of Pauri Garhwal district, plan to shut down the local power house on August 1. The villagers claim they haven’t been given the due compensation that was promised to them by the private company commissioned for the project.
“I have personally visited all the 14 villages affected by this project and have addressed the gram sabhas. We have received phenomenal support with at least 5,000 villagers pledging to shut down the power house on August 1,” said Daulat Kunwar, founder of Uttarakhand Samvaidhanik Adhikar Sanrakshan Manch.
The group is waging protests over the issue since 2013.
“We will continue the protests till the company compensates the villagers,” Kunwar added.
The contract for the construction of Alaknanda hydroelectricity project in Srinagar was awarded to GVK Group. Lands of 476 families from 14 villages in Tehri and Pauri were acquired when the dam construction began in 2006.
Several villagers have alleged that the company has not compensated them till date. “This project has affected 476 families. The company gave each family a cheque of Rs 10 lakh in 2013 as compensation. When we deposited these cheques, the company issued a stop payment against them. Since then, officials of the company have been telling us that we will get the compensation, but we haven’t got anything so far,” said Rajesh Pandey, a resident of Dhari village.
After almost two months of protest by the villagers in Dehradun, the state government called a meeting at the Secretariat last week. Chaired by the state power secretary Radhika Jha, the meeting was attended by a senior representative from the company as well as MLAs from the area. In the meeting, GVK was ordered to pay Rs 20 crore to the 476 affected families as well as an additional Rs 10 crore for repairing of the roads and pipelines damaged during the project construction.
Speaking on the matter, project coordinator, GVK, Santosh Reddy said, “We are waiting for the minutes of the meeting and should receive them in a day or two. Once we get them, we will decide the further course of action.”
Vinod Kandari, the local BJP MLA, said, “I am completely with the villagers on this matter. Because of my intervention, a meeting was held last week at the Secretariat where I was also present. Two days ago, I had a meeting with the DM of Tehri and DM of Pauri. They have said they will be examining all the cheques that were issued by the company to the villagers and ensure they receive the due compensation as per the legal contract signed by the company.”
When asked about the protesters’ plan to shut down the power house from August 1, Kandari said, “I do not have any information on this matter.”