Green Cover to be affected by the Sheli Hydel Power Project
Green Cover to be affected by the Sheli Hydel Power Project

Udaipur: Farmers of more than 20 villages of Madgram, Salpat, Ratoli, Koraki, Salgram and Lober of sub division Udaipur in Lahaul & Spiti district have threaten to launch agitation against the forceful land acquisition by Himachal Pradesh Government for 400 MW Sheli Hydel Power Project of Moser Baer Company (now Hindustan Powerprojects Private Limited).

The farmers, who are protesting under the banner of Sheli Project Sangharsh Samiti (SPSS), will protest the acquisition of Hundreds acres for the Sheli Madgram area in Lahaul Spiti district. They claim that the agitation is to save their agricultural land and livelihoods.

They will march to the Sub Divisional Office of the land acquisition authority at Udaipur shortly.

Bir Singh Thakur, a member of the Sheli Project Sangharsh Samiti, said

“The project will render farmers from 10 villages landless and also snatch away their allied livelihood. All the panchayats have unanimously resolved not to give away their land. They have been agitating for 4 years.”

Agitating villagers were complaining that the Central government has not approved Law where state government of Himachal Pradesh amended and bypassing Gram Sabha NoC to DC. Despite new Land Acquisition Laws the state government is acquiring the land, ‘without the consent of the land owners’.

Sudershan Thakur, Convener SPSS said, ” as per the new Land Acquisition Act (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013) when the government acquires the land for private companies, the consent of at least 80 percent of the project affected families shall be obtained through a prior informed process before government uses its power under the Act to acquire the remaining land for public good, and in case of a public-private project at least 70 percent of the affected families should consent to the acquisition process but the State Government is by-passing central act, which is unconstitutional and illegal”.

Sudershan Thakur also accused the Private Hydel Power Project Company officials for threatening Tribal farmers.

Thakur further added that the State Government has left them with no choice but to agitate. Local Mahila Mandals, Panchayat members and activists will also be joining the protest, he further claimed.

Agitating villagers claiming that the power project will affect over 2 lakh green tree, which will have adverse impact on the fragile eco-system this part of the Himalayas.

Agitating villagers of Madgram and Sheli Project Sangharsh Samiti have convened a meeting on 10th August at Madgram to finalize further proceedings and Agitation.