Affected people allege non-utilization of funds meant for rehabilitation
The delay in implementation of Rehabilitation Plan by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has affected health of people and environment here in Kralpora Mantrigam area in Bandipora, where the work is in progress on 330 Megawatt Kishenganga Hydro Electric Power Project.
The residents demanded probe into the utilization of funds meant for Rehabilitation Plan.
Affected villagers said that all is not well with the Rehabilitation Plan meant for development of the affected area.
Panicked by growing destruction, people affected by the construction have lamented that NPHC has failed to implement the Rehabilitation Plan even as construction of the project is near to its completion.
They say that even after eleven years when NPHC framed the plan, not a penny has been utilized in the affected area.
With the surprise NHPC in it six-monthly progress report 2012-13 (copy with RK) has claimed that it has utilized 5794.35 lakhs among the 30352 lakh allocated under the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) including Biodiversity Conservation Plan, Catchment Area Treatment Plan Fisheries Development, Public Heath Delivery System, Solid Waste Management, Energy Conservation Measures, Rehabilitation of Dumping Sites, Landscaping and Restoration of Construction Area.
The claims of NHPC utilizing huge funds have been denied by the affected people stating that NHPC has given nothing other than destruction to the people.
“Nothing has been done on ground so far as development or EMP is concerned,” said Majeed Ahmed, a resident of Pazalpora told Kashmir Post.
“They never bothered to repair the wall of graveyard in a village Kralpora where NPHC had acquired 800 kanals of land, what to say about utilization of thousand crores,” he said.
“Government should probe how the funds have been utilized by NHPC? It is fraud; they have duped poor people,” locals told Kashmir Post.
The residents demanded thorough probe by CBI, Vigilance or Crime Branch.
The affected people in the area say all is not well with the Rehabilitation Plan worth 253.75 crore that was to be implement in the devastated area of Bandipora due the project construction.
“Earlier scores of directives were issued to NHPC in presence of senior officers and local legislators for time bound implementation of Rehab Plan but corporation which has adopted ‘dictating’ approach has not paid any heed to the directives as nobody dares to take action against NHPC,” locals said.
The roads leading to the affected villages are completely in shambles, water pipes damaged, paddy land destroyed, water resources polluted and even forest cover has been destroyed in absences of proper rehabilitation and environment management plan that was supposed to be implemented by NHPC, locals said.
People affected by the project had earlier staged protests after the government failed to give a schedule for completion of their rehabilitation.
In response, concerned authorities had assured that there will be no comprise on the “due and legitimate rights” of the people affected by the project, however, all went in vain, they said.
Locals in the area told Kashmir Post that the project is turning to be the devastating element for the people who are losing health, environment and water resources once used to crystal clear.
“It is all due to the non-implementation of Environment Management Plan by NHPC, that people are forced to live in miserable conditions,” locals said.
“Had NPHC implemented EMP, our water resources, forest cover, roads and environment may not have been affected,” they said.
When contacted General Manager NHPC Shair Ahmed Zargar refused to comment on the issue.
“I have no information about the issue so I can’t comment,” he told Kashmir Post over the phone.
“There are provisions of utilizing funds for the development of affected people; I have directed concerned people to do the same, “said Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Sajad Ahmed.
“So far as the earlier utilization is concerned, I have no information,” he said.