J&K HC tells state govt, NHPC to file response within four weeks
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today issued notices to the state government, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) authorities and other officials, respondents in a petition seeking to quash the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy-2007. The policy was drafted by the NHPC and J&K Government to rehabilitate the villagers affected by the Kishanganga hydroelectric power project in Bandipora district.
The High Court has given these respondents four-week time to respond to the averments made in the petition filed by the villagers of Kralpora and Check in Bandipora, who have been affected by the power project.
In the petition filed by the villagers through advocate Altaf Mehraj, it has been said the J&K Government and NHPC authorities, which owns the power project, should redraft the policy of resettlement and rehabilitation for the project-affected families on the pattern and in accordance with the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy-2007.
The affected villagers have also sought directions that all the affected persons should be provided all benefits in terms of such a policy for rehabilitation and resettlement and the respondents should also be directed to compensate the “project-affected families” for the losses incurred by such families due to the hydro project to which they are entitled to.
After going through the petition and listening the arguments of the petitioners’ lawyer, a single Bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar today issued notices to the J&K Government, NHPC authorities, Project Manager, Kishenganga Hydroelectric Power Project, Bandipora, and Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, directing them to file their response within four weeks.
In the petition, it has been submitted that in terms of various reports got prepared by the project authorities, a total of 384 families, comprising of the people belonging to the Dard-shin Schedule Tribe in some six villages, namely Badwan, Wampora, Khapura and Nayal in Gurez and Check and Kralpora in Bandipora, will be displaced due to the project either partially or wholly.
“The project will also affect the people of these areas in terms of the loss of agricultural land, housing structures, structures used for cattle and fodder storage, markets, schools, religious places like mosques and some structures belonging to the different state departments,” the petitioners have submitted, while seeking full compensation in terms of losses incurred on account of loss of livelihood, lands and housing dwellings and also highlighting the ecological and environmental concerns of the upcoming power project.