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Hydro projects facing protests in Himachal, Min calls for rethink on scenario

The Jangi-Thopan is not a single case where locals and NGOs (some of the even not functioning in this field) have started protests. The protests in Kinnaur have now spiralled to Lahaul Spiti district.

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

As almost all hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh are facing protests by locals and NGOs alike, State MPP and Power minister Sukhram Chaudhary on Friday called for rethink on the scenario as to whether these projects are needed or not.

Replying to a query by Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi during Question hour on Jangi-Thopan hydro project, Chaudhary said it has become a norm whenever a hydro project is announced or MoU is signed, several NGOs and environmentalists start protests against it.

“The Jangi-Thopan is not a single case where locals and NGOs (some of the even not functioning in this field) have started protests. The protests in Kinnaur have now spiralled to Lahaul Spiti district.

Some of them even have started blackmailing the developers while the fact is that these projects provide direct and indirect employment to the local population. Besides, producing more and more hydro power is the need of the hour and the sector can also play a crucial role in the state’s economy,” he added.

Chaudhary called for a rethink on the prevailing scenario and even urged the House to consider holding a debate on the issue.

He stated that the Jangi-Thopan hydro project is being developed by SJVN and an MoU in this regard has already been signed with investigations being carried out for setting up the project.

Earlier, Negi raised the issue of villagers protesting against the project and said they had even boycotted the bypolls. The aggrieved villagers had even tried to meet Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in Sangla, then Reckong Peo and later in Dharamshala but he didn’t listen to their grievances. He even questioned the minister as to why they didn’t discuss the issue with residents and local MLA before signing MoU.

Replying to the charge, Chaudhary said the government didn’t have any plan to scrap the project while urging the Chief Minister to meet the aggrieved persons at the earliest and try to resolve their grievances.