The J&K High Court issued a notice to NHPC, India's hydroelectric giant, on a writ petition filed by villagers affected by the under construction Kishanganga Power Project in north Kashmir district of Bandipora. Hearing the petition by inhabitants of village Kralpora Check of Bandipora, Justice M H Attar issued notice returnable in four weeks to NHPC, J&K Chief Secretary and other concerned respondents.
The writ petition seeks striking down of a "faulty" rehabilitation and resettlement policy drafted by the respondent corporation, saying it was not in consonance with the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy 2007.
It is in place to mention here that for the purposes of the execution of the 330 Megawatt power project, the NHPC is using waters of the Kishanganga river.
A dam of the height of 37 meters is being constructed wherefrom the waters of the river shall be diverted through a 23 KM long tunnel cutting across a huge mountainous region from Gurez to the underground power house located in the village of the petitioners.
The construction of the project though being seen and proposed to be beneficial to the extent of generation of electricity "shall unleash a catastrophe in the form of the enhanced chances of frequent flooding of the areas of population around the Wular Lake," reads the petition.
A great threat to the historical township of Sopore is imminent, and adjoining areas are also exposed to unending ecological disasters, it adds.
It is pertinent to mention here that the said project is being constructed in an area wherein the people belonging to the tribal class reside, and all these tribal people mostly from Dard-shin tribe shall be affected by it, says the petition.
Almost 384 families comprising of the people belonging to Dard-shin schedule tribe in some six villages -- Badwan, Wampora, Khapura and Nayal in Gurez and check and Kralpora in Bandipora shall be displaced due to the project, the petitioners say.
The overall impact of the project on environment is extensive and shall cause loss of numerous varieties of medicinal plantation which is specific to the said area only.
Besides this, the project shall affect the people of these areas in terms of the loss of agricultural land, the housing structures, structures used for cattle and fodder storage, markets, schools, religious places like mosques and some structures belonging to the different state departments.
The said project shall also affect the sources of clean drinking water in the project adjoining areas, the petition says.