Activist protest land acquisition for Renuka dam in Himachal

Shimla: In a letter to the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court yesterday, activists appealed for a stay on land acquisition for the Renuka dam project, considering the uncertainty surrounding the project.

The land owners also filed their objections with the Land Acquisition Officer. Members of the Renuka Bandh Sangharsh Samiti expressed their opposition on the grounds that the tree counting by HPPCL was incorrect and the number of trees have been grossly under estimated. The land was actually being bought by HPPCL through property dealers and contractors and the actual land owners were the biggest losers in this case.

The letter written to the Chief Justice alleged that the project proponents do not have a forest clearance for the private forest land which they were acquiring. As per the Supreme Court order dated May 8, 2009 in the TN Godavraman case, the shamlaat or private forests should attract the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

Further, the letter also said that forest clearance for 775 hectares for the whole project has been declined by the Ministry of Enviornment through a letter dated August 31, 2010 and yet the land acquisition process was being continued, thus making a mockery of the decision of the ministry and the principles of the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL) and revenue administration is going ahead with acquisition of 57 hectares of land in Panaar Village for the Renuka Dam Project.

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