Uttarakhand villagers marooned for over two years

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Chai (Uttarakhand), Aug 21 (ANI): Residents of Chai village in Uttarakhand are still struggling to cope up with the predicament, which they encountered nearly two years ago when water from a tunnel of a powerhouse project gushed into their homes.

It was on October 25, 2007 that a massive leakage in the tunnel of the 400 MW powerhouse project constructed by the Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited, a subsidiary of Jaypee Group of Industries resulted in the entire Chai village being inundated.

Only couple of families out of 25 were compensated.

With no roof over their heads and facing Herculean task to travel to the nearby villages or other places for their work, these families have reached the limit of their patience.

"When the tunnel built by JP Company (Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited) poured out two years ago, our complete village was wiped out. Every day we are living under the fear of losing our lives. All our homes have been destroyed. We face a lot of problems while commuting from one place to another, as there are no roads," said Yashoda Devi, a villager.

She also complained that many families are living in shacks and tents since the government has not rehabilitated them even after two years.

Despite repeated appeals, the government has rehabilitated just seven to eight families out of the 25 gravely affected households.

So much so, relief if any seems to have become a mirage for these families.

"We took our problem to the Chief Minister and the District Magistrate and every authority concerned, but so far they have provided houses to just seven to eight families. Those families who were severely affected by the leakage were promised a compensation of 365,000 rupees.

But the villagers were not in favour of the compensation but wished to move to some safer place," said Pratap Lal, former Pradhan (headman) of Chai village.

Reacting to all the plight of the villagers, the government of Uttarakhand has contended that the grievances of the affected villagers are being looked into and that the District Magistrate is being instructed to address the problems of Chai village.

"This problem is now under consideration. We will be referring the matter to the District Magistrate and strict instructions will be issued to him. The problem is very grave in the village ever since the tunnel had leaked.After that commuting has been very dangerous for the villagers.

The District Magistrate will be looking into the matter at the earliest," asserted Khajan Das, Minister of Disaster Management, Uttarakhand. (ANI)

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