Rampur labourers, residents demand protection of their rights

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Rampur, Apr 7 : Over a thousand labourers and residents staged a protest against the state-run hydropower company, Satluj Jal Vidhut Nigam Ltd. (SJVN), in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, demanding protection of their rights.

Labourers working with the SJVN gathered outside the Bayal Tunnel office of the Satluj Rampur Project of Hydropower Company on Sunday and decided to stop the work till the administration meets their demand.

About 1,500 labourers working at the 412MW hydropower project in 'very difficult conditions' felt concerned over the project authorities overlooking their safety.

"We are very worried regarding our safety. We have been repeatedly pleading with the authorities to implement labour laws, but no arrangements for safety have been done so far. The laborers are being exploited by contractors appointed by the administration," said Ranjeet, a labourer.

Labourers and villagers, demanding prompt action from the administration, said that the construction work at two sites of the hydropower project would resume only after their demands are met.

Villagers of the Poshana Panchayat in the Satluj Valley are also protesting against the Goshai tunnel construction as the tunnel is posing threat to their source of drinking water near the village.

"The 412 megawatt power project passes through Panchayat and the SJVN had given us an assurance that the areas affected because of the project would be provided water facilities for which they have to spend Rupees five crores. But SJVN has not facilitated us with any water scheme, in fact the money allocated for the purpose has been spent at some other place in Rampur," said Deep Dayal, president of Panchayat. The labourers seek immediate implementation of the assurance made to them.

On of the largest hydroelectric schemes of the country, the Satluj Jal Vidhut Nigam Ltd project is essentially the stage-II of the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri project, commissioned in 2003 by the SJVN.

ANI

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