A press release by Saal Ghati Bachao Sangharsh Morcha and Himalaya Niti Abhiyan:
Villagers at Chamba held a day long protest on Thursday against Hul-stage 1 Micro hydro project in spite of section 144 which was imposed by the administration.
The protest was held under the banner of Saal Ghati Bachao Sangharsh Morcha and Himalaya Niti Abhiyan. All the villagers set on hunger strike for a day.
Protesters submitted a memorandum to deputy commissioner condemning the authorities and state government for favouring the developer of Hul-1 and demanded immediate cancellation of the project.
People of the region are opposing this project since 1903 and have not allowed any construction work till date at the site.
Local people comprising majority of pastoral community (Gaddi and Gujjar) are opposing the project on the ground of environmental degradation, deforestation, lose of livelihoods- particularly destruction pastureland due to construction of channel and lose of water availability for drinking and irrigation of local six Panchayats. All Gram Sabhas have rejected the project and have not issued NOC.
The construction work at Hul-1 micro hydro project was stalled after the protesters were attacked by the bouncers of Hul Hydro Power Private limited in 2010.
On 14th February 2010, when local people were sitting in a meeting at Jadera in protest against this coming project, the bouncers of company and contractors of the Hul Hydro Power Private limited opened fire at them.
Five people, including Former Zilla Parishad Member and Veteran Environmentalist, Ratan Chand, Pradhan Jadera Gram Panchayat, Mansingh and three other residents were seriously injured in this attack.
After the attack on local people by the company’s bouncers state government constituted a committee under Additional District Magistrate (ADM). In March, 2010 a public hearing was conducted under the chairmanship of ADM Chamba to know the public opinion about the project. Local people gathered in huge number at the site to oppose the project. ADM recommended in his report that project shall be cancelled.
Deputy Commissioner Chamba recommended the same to state government on June 21 2010.
The state government then issued show cause notice to the company on August 28, 2010.
Hearing a petition filed by veteran environmentalist Rattan Chand seeking cancellation of the project, Supreme Court of India passed order in SLP(Civil) No. 12120/2012 dated 3/9/2012, that state government is free to take final decision in this matter of Hul-1 because proceedings of show cause notice issued by Principal Secretary (NES) on 25/8/2010 has not been finalised hence appropriate orders in accordance with law shall be taken by the state.
So it is very clear that state government have power to cancel the Hul-1 project. Secondly Himachal Government in its cabinet decision in June 2012 has passed resolution that all those micro hydro projects which has been opposed by local community shall be cancelled and on this bases Jogani Fal micro hydro project in Manali has been cancelled.
The Company has started work partially at site which has been always opposed by local population. Company has filed a false complaint through its workers in police station against Shri Mohamd Yaseen (Vice President of the Jadera Panchayt) and Shri Shamaoon (Local resident) of threatening them.
This time the company has given construction work to those people who were involved in the attack on local people in 2010.
Morcha stated in its memorandum that provocations by the company will further create law and order problem in the area.
Saal Ghati Bachao Sangharsh Morcha and Himalaya Niti Abhiyan demand immediate cancellation of the Hul- I Micro Hydro Electric Project in Chamba and Haripur Nala in Kullu where the conflict of water uses are arising.
First right to water use lies to local community rather than any commercial or urban needs. The groups also demand the review of state\\\’s Micro-Hydro-project policy from the perspective of impacts on local livelihoods, environment, irrigation and drinking water and other local and traditional uses.