Tribals protest against hydel projects in HP

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Shimla, Aug 26: A delegation of 15 gram panchayats from the tribal district of Kinnaur today handed over a memorandum to Himachal Pradesh Governor Prabha Rau in protest against the construction of hydel projects in the tribal areas.

The delegation submitted the 41-page memorandum protesting against the dozen projects under construction on the Satluj starting from China border to 150 km along the river basin threatening the fragile environment of the tribal district.

Himachal Lok Jagriti Manch Kinnaur Cordinator RS Negi, who led the delgation, said the ''HP transfer of Land (Regulation) Act 1968 and Panchayat (Extention to Schedule Area) Act 1996 delgates power to gram sabha to issue no objection certificate to any projects but the government has cleared the projects without taking the consent of the tribal panchayats.'' ''The PESA Act gives special power to tribal panchayats.

However, the state government is not enforcing the law in its true spirit and hydel companies are taking benefit from this,'' he said.

''Jayee Parkesh Hydel Project known as 'Karcham Vangtu Jal Vidut Pariyojna', which has grabbed 1650 bigha tribal land illegally, is one of the projects which tribal people are protesting for long but the project is under construction with the blessings of the state governement,'' he said.

''Why state government issued the go ahead signal to projects which directly bypass the gram sabha legislation enacted,'' he said.

He said the matter was pending in front of Himachal Pradesh High Court but no relief was granted in the matter so far.

''We have requested the Governor to enforce the act to protect the tribals' rights in the state,'' he said.

''The government under the influence of multinational companies are violating the tribal rights and gram sabha act which is highly objectionable to tribal people,'' he said.

''The hydel projects, which are sanctioned by the state government without doing scientific and environment maping, would affect the fragile environment of the tribal areas,'' he added.

UNI

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