Apni Party Vice President Ghulam Hassan Mir Monday urged the companies engaged in hydropower projects to reserve 80 percent skilled and unskilled jobs for the locals in Chenab Valley.
A statement of Apni Party issued here quoted Mir as saying that these companies should reserve jobs for locals in the power projects being constructed and also the newly-approved projects on River Chenab.
“These projects have a huge potential of providing employment opportunities to the locals,” Mir said in the statement.
It said that while interacting with the delegation led by Apni Party Vice Provincial President, Jammu, Syed Asgar Ali from Chenab Valley, Mir said that it was unfortunate that the companies engaged in the power projects were not engaging locals at any level.
“People in neighbouring states of J&K get at least 80 percent share in both the skilled and unskilled jobs but the same share is denied to the local population in J&K,” Mir said in the statement. “There are extremely hazardous effects on the land and natural resources in Chenab Valley due to the power projects, the roads are sinking, and the villages have become unsafe in several areas.”
He expressed serious concern over the bad effect on the environment and pressure on the resources being utilised by these projects.
The statement stated that after interacting with the locals, Mir said that the people of Chenab Valley had suffered heavily on account of the construction of these hydropower projects which had adversely affected the environment and resources of the area.
“An assurance was given by the previous governments for giving relief to the people of the area by charging half tariff on electricity to the households coming within the radius of 5 km of such projects. However, till date no word has been heard about it from any government. It is requested that the people of the area should get a share of atleast 5 percent in the water-cess collected from these projects which comes to an astounding figure of around Rs 4000 crore till today and is in the deposit of the government treasury under water resources act,” he said in the statement.
Mir said a small percentage out of the fund could change the shape of Chenab Valley and its people in respect of the development of infrastructure and other public facilities.
“The locals are angry against at the unclear recruitment policy adopted by NHPC, AFCON, JP and Patel. It seems these companies work on the directives of some administrative officials and a political party which is evident from the negligence of the local population,” he said.
Mir said that these companies do not take up developmental activities or provide any health-related facilities to the population after exploiting the natural resources and hoped that the newly-approved power projects by the GoI would give a due share to the locals in jobs and development.
He reminded that the GoI had approved three projects – PakalDul, Kiru, Karthai, second-phase of Dulhasti and 850 MW Ratle power projects – to be constructed on the Chenab River.
Mir said that the new dams and water reservoirs would further add to the worries of the people as these would damage the ecosystem.