Extension of industrial package to Himachal opposed



Shimla: Leading pro-environmental NGO Himalaya Niti Abhiyan today opposed the extension of industrial package to Himachal Pradesh by alleging that it would consume more natural resources of the hill state, and demanded an alternative package for small, marginal and agro-based industrial units in the state.

While addressing media persons here today, state general secretary of Himalaya Niti Abhiyan Kulbhushan Upamanyu said they are organizing a state-wide ‘Yatra’ to garner support from people for their demands to preserve depleting natural resources. He charged the state government of acting in the interests of some big industrial houses, thus eroding vast natural wealth of the state in the name of industrial, infrastructural and hydro power development.

He said that small hydro powers units have been allowed mindlessly by incumbent and past regimes, which are now controlling huge chunk of river basins by setting apart the traditional economic resources sustaining the livelihood of common people.

Charging the state government for shirking from implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006, he alleged that villages had raised the dense forest in their areas, either through Jadera Gram Panchayat fund or by Harit Himachal Fund, which is the best example of community aforestation in the state, but now the government wants to nullify the effort. He insisted that villagers could not be debarred from their ancestral right on community forests. He said that the government is trying to intrude into such rights by abolishing them in the name of new Trambri Demarcated Right (TD) policy or other imposed legislations.

He said that community rights on the forest wealth are being undermined by installation of projects across the state. Raising concern over seizure of drinking and irrigating water resources including government-run schemes, he said that people are against setting up of small and micro hydel projects below 10 mega watt potential. He said that 5MW and small power projects were being allotted by the state government without properly accessing their impact on the socio-economic life of local people.

He charged that the state is the biggest green feller as it is diverting huge forest area into the hands of corporates to allow industrial units, hydro powers units, electric transmission lines, cement plant, etc. He also demanded giving cultivation and user rights to people having ownership on small holding on their small encroachments in the state so that they could earn their livelihood on them.

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