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KISHTWAR: Threatening to intensify agitation against the hydel power construction companies executing work on prestigious Pakal Dul project in Kishtwar, Member Legislative Council Firdous Tak Tuesday said that Peoples Democratic Party cannot be mute spectator to the injustice and will fight for the common cause of public. “NHPC and CVPP are exploiting the local resources and constructing power projects which are sure to create ecological and biological havoc in Chenab Valley. But the two companies are bringing people from outside the state to take management and technical posts, while the local residents have been forced to take to street even to get menial jobs”, Tak said.

 

The legislator was addressing a massive public rally here during the protest demonstration organised against the power construction companies. Normal life was affected following series of protest demonstrations across the township following call by the district unit of Peoples Democratic Party. The call was supported by Unemployed Engineers Association, Chenab Valley Hydel Project Workers Union, Young Contactors Association, Kissan Mazdoor Union, Land oustees of Dul Hasti Union, Sadar Mazdoor Union, Dam Cancellation Committee Marwah, Power Affected People Union Dachan and various social organisations.

 

He said that today’s protest was beginning of a struggle by Kishtwar residents who have been pushed to wall by the companies earning crores in Chenab Region. “The NHPC, CVPP, JKPDC have projected these power projects as an opportunity for economic upliftment but the promises are proving to be hoax”, he said adding that it was unfortunate the unemployed youth are today forced to sit on the roads to get even daily wage works. “Go through the top management list of these companies and you will find that there are hardly any local”, he said adding that the power construction companies are acting as economic booster for a particular political party.

“We warn you to desist from these activities and give the local unemployed skilled and unskilled youth their dues. Failing this the locals will be forced to come on the road and seek ouster of all the non-locals from the region”, he threatened. He said that the residents of Dachan have been cheated and paid peanuts as land compensation. Similarly, the people of Marwah are demanding cancellation of proposed Bursur project but the union government seems to be unmoved.

 

Addressing the gathering District President PDP Sheikh Nasir Hussain said that youth of Kishtwar are most tehnically qualified and experienced in the power project construction but today when the project is being constructed in their backyard they are denied jobs for political reasons. He warned that in case the companies did not desisted from its practice PDP will intensify its agitation across the Chenab Region. He also demanded that JKPDC should implement CSR and local area development funds in Ramban and parts of Doda district which are affected due to Baglihar project.

Youth General Secretary PDP Umar Malik castigated National Conference and Congress for opposing the genuine and just demand of unemployed youth of Kishtwar. “These political organisations have always worked for petty gains and the local residents know their credintials. We know how you and your workers got personal benefits from these companies during the construction of Dul Hasti Project”, he said.

District President Youth Wasil Doolwal said that the unemployed youth of Kishtwar are not averse to such power project but cannot be mute spectators to the injustice being meted out to them. He said that NHPC has not launched any local recruitment drive in last more than two decades while the company was earning crores from the region. District Secretary Ishtiyaq Hussain Waza and Arshad Giri invited all the political parties, religious organisation and trade unions to come on a single platform in order to fight for the common cause.

 

Secretary Chenab Valley Hydel Project Workers Union Firdous Tapal said that Jai Parkash company had promised to its workers during the construction of Baglihar project that retrenched employees will get first preference in the future project. The company is not only backtracking from its promise but has resorted to discriminatory recruitment at the cost of those who have rendered years of services. He said that AFCON, which has started work on the construction at dam site, was ignoring locals and has hired some political workers as contractors and labour suppliers. He warned that the Union will launch massive agitation in the region in case the demands were not fulfilled.

President Unemployed Engineers Association Atul Mahajan castigated CVPP and NHPC for its failure to recruit the local engineers. “Several engineers have been recruited in the project during the last six months but the local unemployed engineering graduates were being denied jobs”, he said adding that the Union shall stand with the unemployed youth and residents of Kishtwar.

Ghulam Nabi from Marwah demanded immediate cancellation of Bursur hydel project. He said that economic development was not possible at the cost of the local residents who have made it clear that they will fight to their last breath but will not allow the power project to be constructed in the area submerging around 7 panchayats and rendering thousands of people houseless.

Ghulam Nabi Gafil of Dachan said that the CVPP has done injustice with the resident of Dachan where diversion tunnel and Dam for Pakal Dul is being constructed. Peanuts have been paid to the land owners and despite assurances no employment was being offered to the project affected residents.