Tribals up ante against power projects

SHIMLA: Tribals have opposed the proposed hydropower projects, the main agenda of the two-day Global Investors’ Meet, and demanded the development of eco-tourism.

editorial@tribune.com

Shimla, November 4

Tribals have opposed the proposed hydropower projects, the main agenda of the two-day Global Investors’ Meet, and demanded the development of eco-tourism.

Shooting off a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur ahead of the meet of November 7-8, the Save Lahaul-Spiti, Yuvak Mandals, Spiti Civil Society, Himlok Sanskriti Manch and other NGOs have upped their ante against the proposed construction of hydropower projects worth 2,300 mw.

Tribals want the development of eco-tourism as the 8.82-km Rohtang Tunnel is set to open floodgates of tourism in the valley the next year. “We reject mass tourism and power projects as these will spell doom for socio-cultural and spiritual harmony that the trans-Himalayas are naturally blessed with,” they said.

“We don’t want big projects on the sacred Chandra-Bhaga river that has nurtured a tribal culture in the harsh snowbound valley over the centuries”, said Prem Katoch, president, Save Lahaul-Spiti, who has shot off a letter to the Chief Minister, seeking a ban on hydropower projects in the tribal belt. “Like Kinnaur, hydropower projects will ruin Lahaul-Spiti,” he said.

“We have gathered from the agenda of the meet that a majority of the renewable energy projects fall in Pangi in Chamba district and Lahaul-Spiti district,” they wrote to the Chief Minister.

Apple, almonds and chilgoza brought prosperity in Kinnaur, but power projects brought miseries and natural disasters, said Ranjeet Negi, convener, Himlok Sanskriti Manch, an NGO. — TNS

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