Sunday, 18 December 2011

{DUU-26} From Alaknandaganga Valley 12-01-2007

Pipalkoti-Vishnugad HEP Second Public Hearing-
Was a fake exercise
Project Name: Proposed Vishnugad-Pipalkoti Hydroelectric Project (444MW)
River: Alaknanda (Chamoli Distt.) Uttarakhand
Agency: Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC)
On 9th January without any change in the documents, without giving any document in Hindi to the affected people the 2nd EIA public hearing of proposed Vishnugad-Pipalkoti HEP was held.
The two public hearing held on this project did not have any difference except the time gap of 2.5 months. In between people were not given right and complete information regarding the project which they were demand, the Environment Impact Assessment Report and Environment Management Plan and other documents. Instead they were told about the hollow promises related to the project. Peoples’ demands were not met by the officials of T.H.D.C.
When on 09/01/07 the EIA public hearing began the affected people started raising slogans against the cancellation of the hearing without giving relevant documents. One group raised slogans and sat out on the road and started presenting the hazards of the projects through speeches.
People of Haat village came in a form of a rally in the public hearing place they were shouting slogans under the banner - Shri Laxmi Narain Punarwas Jankalyan Samiti (Shri Laxmi Narain Rehabilitation Welfare Association) against T.H.D.C.
The block chairman Shri Bisht who was sitting on the panel, on seeing me demanded the exclusion of outsiders (i.e. me) and only the inclusion of affected people in presenting their demand. The reason being I had asked him, whether everyone present in the panel had read the EIA report? A letter prepared by Matu People’s Organiztion and the Samiti was read by Mr. Sharad Gairola. After this all the people of Haat village and others came out and sat on road with other people. The protest and slogan shouting continued in the presence of 2 officials of UEP & PCB, S.D.M. and Block Chairman.
On the stage around 10- 12 people presented their problems. The S.D.M. gave a speech on stage to the public assuring them that public hearing should be held infact in village to village and people should be heard at home to home. This process will be continuing. And there by concluded the hearing for the day.

UEP & PCB’s Shri Pal agreed with me about the hearing being concluded. While the S.D.M. was on his way out, I asked him a question as to what will happen to the public hearing. On this he replied that people presented their problems which were resolved and what more do they want? Not everything can be done in day. After this the S.D.M. left in his car. This public hearing was held on the context of old information and the officials of T.H.D.C. made the maximum use of the experiences of Tehri.

In the last EIA public hearing which was held on 17/10/06, affected people created uproar about not being provided with the complete information related with the project. World Bank also has a stake in the project. Matu People’s Organization sent a letter to the World Bank asking about their involvement in the proposed project along with the letter of the affected people and with their own analysis. A date for next public hearing of the project was fixed on 09/01/07. Attached photos (17-10-06) were taken by Mr. Priyabrata from LIFE (A collective of lawyers working on Environment issues) who attends the public hearing.
This update reflects the work of MATU PEOPLES ORGANISATION.
Development for all, not only for few

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