Kullu locals protest against hydropower project for illegal placement of power wires

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Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), Mar 20 (ANI): The Alian Duhangan hydropower project in Kullu faced the agitation of the locals of Hirni village for placing power lines over their houses and across fields without their consent.

Work on the transmission line of the 192MW Alian Duhangan project from Prini in Manali to Nalagarh is almost 90 percent finished as the power plant is scheduled to generate power from April this year.

But angry locals are alleging that the transmission line that is being set up over the fields and houses is illegal and would lead to environmental degradation.

"These people are irritating us for no reason. We will let them set up the transmission lines but they should come to an agreement as they are doing this illegally without giving us any notice," said Anita, a resident of Mashada village, whose house has come under the transmission line.

"I would say that if the company people forcefully try to set up the transmission line over my house with the help of administration, goons or police, I will burn myself to death," added Anita.

The locals also say that the hydropower company has not yet paid their compensation as was assured in the agreement with the company.

The Executive Officer of the project, Rajesh Bhardwaj, has, however, denied the allegation and said that the company is trying to work according to the agreement as they have to pay four times actual loss of the farmer.

"The amounts of compensation these villagers are demanding are a bit high as per the agreement. We had a meeting with the local committee earlier in front of the deputy commissioner," said Bhardwaj.

"As per the decisions made in that meeting, we are ready to pay four times the actual losses. Now again we are ready for a meeting and will obey whatever the deputy commissioner decides," he added.

As many as 294 hydropower projects in the public and private sectors are coming up in Himachal Pradesh to generate 586 MW of electricity.

Most of the projects are located in Kullu, Shimla, Lahaul and Spiti, Mandi, Sirmaur and Kangra districts. Kullu alone has 83 projects.

Himachal Pradesh has abundant water resources, with five major rivers flowing from the western Himalayas.

It has a power potential of about 23,000 MW. Public sector units and private and joint venture companies have harnessed till about 6,480 MW now. (ANI)

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