Usman leads protests against HCC, NHPC
Bandipore, Aug 22: Hundreds of people led by the Congress leader and former Minister of State for Planning Usman Majeed staged a massive protest in this north Kashmir town on Monday against what they termed as “discriminatory approach” of the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).
Protesters alleged that management of these companies were appointing outsiders instead of locals. They blocked the busy Gurez-Bandipore Road for more than three hours.
While, addressing the protesters, Usman Majeed warned of a mass uprising if the HCC and NHPC fail to redress the grievances of the people of Bandipore especially those who have been hit due to the project.
“We are giving the deadline of ten days to the HCC and NHPC to redress the grievances of people, if they fail, an organized agitation will be launched against these companies” Usman said.
He called for united action to save the water resources, forests and road connectivity. “The HCC and NHPC should think over the wanton destruction of biodiversity and water resources. If these companies don’t pay any heed towards these issues they will have to face the consequences,” he said.
Expressing concern over the pollution and environmental degradation Usman said that construction of the power project in Bandipora has badly hit the people. “It has affected the health, business and socio cultural aspects of life in the area,” he added.
“Even the muck and dirt of the Kishan Ganga Power project are polluting forests and River Madhumati, a home to the famous trout fishes, our forest habitats may become extinct,” he said.
“We are not against the project construction but we will not allow it at the cost of the forests, water resources and fertile agrarian lands” he said. “It is unfortunate that these companies have appointed some notorious officers who prefer to appoint outsiders over Kashmiris which clearly indicates that they are communal.”
Meanwhile, protesters alleged that HCC management was indulging in corruption while appointing the employees and allocating the contracts. “They gift contracts to a few chosen people who share commission with them,” protestors added.
They accused HCC of dishonoring the agreement signed in 2007 before starting the construction work. “They (HCC and NHPC) have failed to honor the agreement signed between locals and company. They have duped us. Now they humiliate us whenever we approach them for justice,” said a protestor Abdul Majeed.
“The HCC machinery has damaged our roads and lanes, it was mentioned in the agreement that the roads would be repaired but nothing of that sort has been done,” said Muhammad Afzal another protestor.
“The HCC has acquired over 900 kanals of land in various villages of Bandipore like Mantrigam, Kralpora, Harteng, Sonarwani,Pethkoot, Yali, Chandaji and Herpora, but the Government is yet to pay any compensation to the affected villagers, besides it has paid no heed to the development of the area where the roads have got damaged due to heavy machinery,” the complaint states.
Meanwhile, an officer of the HCC told Greater Kashmir that among the 1300 appointed employees’ 625 have been appointed from Bandipore and Gurez and rest of the 495 have been appointed from rest of the Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that the most of the skilled and unskilled workers are from Bandipore and rest of the valley. However, he said the skilled technicians and engineers who were not available at the local place have been appointed by the HCC head office.
He said that the community development is the first and foremost duty of the company. “The allegations leveled against the HCC management are baseless and manufactured,” he added.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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