By Prem Kumar
Kullu, May 8 : Over 35,000 trees are being cut down to facilitate the construction of the 192 MV Allain Duhangan hydro power project in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh.
Villagers are protesting the massive deforestation. As such they are protesting against such power projects since a couple of others have also been planned elsewhere in the State. They allege that the Government did not inform them about the felling of trees.
Around 1200 trees have already been illegally cut by the personnel associated with the Allain Duhangan project.
"They did not give us any information or asked us our consent to build these power lines. They did it on their own with some middle men being involved in it. The environment department gave NOC to them and asked them to take suggestions and with a proper enquiry with the Panchayat and the villagers to set up the project. But they purposely have fitted power lines between the orchards and the fields which is not acceptable," said Lal Chand, a farmer.
The entire Kullu District, Nalagadh region and Mandi areas will be affected with the felling of trees.
" Forest Department says that around 10,000 trees will be cut which itself is a huge lot. The Government should realise that the condition of the state, jungles would not exist at this rate of trees being chopped," said Daulat Bharti, an environmentalist.
There are other such projects on the pipeline, which will also require felling of trees in large numbers.
On this score, Minister of Forests, Jagat Prakash Nadda said that the engineers of Allain Duhangan project did not evaluate the consequences. The Government will try to build a common transmission line for the other projects, which are also coming up. This common transmission will be beneficial to transmit electricity and there wouldn't be much loss."
Still the villagers who solely rely on Mother Nature for survival are hoping that some solution would be worked out to avoid the felling of trees.