Locals, environmentalists oppose dam construction in Himachal Pradesh

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Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Apr 28 (ANI): Locals and environmentalists have objected to the construction of proposed Renuka Dam in Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur District, fearing severe ecological damage.

"The construction of Renuka Dam will result in the relocation of almost 1500 families, though government figures put the number to be somewhere around 850. 140,000 trees will be cut to build this dam. No objection certificate (NOC) for this has yet been obtained by the dam management," said Deepak Joshi, an environmentalist.

The villagers are demanding a proper re-habilitation policy from the state government.

They said compensation being offered to them was insufficient.

"The villagers want good compensation for the land being acquired by the government. We should also get good land at the place where we will, be relocated. Residential colonies should be constructed for us, so that our children are safe in future," said Mahesh Kumar, a representative of the villagers, who are likely to be dislocated.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has assured the demands will be looked into.

"For the first time, a comprehensive policy has been made for the relocation of the displaced people. They are being given good compensation, for their relocation we have made elaborate arrangements, they will be given land in place of the land they are losing," said Dhumal.

"They will be rehabilitated in a proper manner. We have also made sure that the displaced people get 100 units of free electricity every month," he added.

The dam is coming up in the Giri River valley region, and will produce 40 megawatts of hydropower.

It is being built by the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation. (ANI)

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