By: RAHUL SAXENA
Construction of Hydro electric projects (and now the proposed Ski Villages) are being seen as the Government’s prescription for the sustainable development of the hill state. The docile population of the state would not have had much against these projects if all the parameters on social(employment to locals/effect on local culture, proper rehabilitation etc.) and ecological (disposal of muck, conservation of local water sources, minimum limit of water to be left in the river, road construction norms etc.) were being met with by the projects.
The recent killing of the 3 CITU workers is a rude reminder to the people of HP to let the construction companies have their way or else…. and the way that such issues are politicised between the Left organistions, Congress and the BJP it seems that till the time the local people(in whose favour the 3 killed people had gone to the construction company to negotiate) put up a protest and pressurise the local politicians and the district administration, the outcome of the case could be a few jobs to the local people(especially those related to the deceased) and the murderers going scot free due to witnesses being coerced/bribed.
Sadly, it is reported (and I hope that the report is not true) that the local people are not much concerned with the death of the people who apparently were fighting for their rightful share of employment in the project. There is a strong possibility of the Construction company and whoever profits from its being getting away with murder if this matter of statewide importance is allowed to be relegated as a local affair of Chambawallas. Is it not the government(political representatives and the district administration) who should be ensuring the employment and ecology related norms that it itself has created/professed?
Pressurising the political representatives through phone calls/letters of protest is the minimum that could/should be done but is not always effective here to sway opinions. What ways of protest does this group propose?