Jammu: Over 6000 families fear being displaced from four to five villages of Marwah if a reservoir is constructed under the 850 MW Pakal-Bursar power project on the twin rivers of Maru and Sudar in Kishtwar district.
“The project is at its initial stage and except the construction of some residential quarters, the project has not taken off yet,” said District Development Council (DDC) member Marwah, Sheikh Zafarullah.
He said that the reservoir would submerge the populated villages, which are surrounded with mountains, into a deep lake and displace the huge population and destabilise the environment.
“As per a report of the Government of India, more than 6000 families are going to submerge in Marwah due to the reservoir of the proposed power project. It has around four to five revenue villages that would completely submerge into the reservoir,” Zafarullah said.
He said that the government had not spoken to them even though a report with regard to the power project in Marwah had been prepared.
“They have also not declared fault lines of the earthquake knowing the seismic situation of Himalayan zone,” Zafarullah said. “Dams after dams are being constructed without consulting the local population.”
He said that the project would have adverse effects, not only on Marwah, but also on the entire Chenab Valley.
“When there was an elected government in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, we sat on a hunger strike for 57 days and started a door-to-door campaign to oppose the move to construct a reservoir in Marwah,” Zafarullah said. “The then minister Sunil Sharma accompanied us to Delhi and we had a meeting with the then Union Minister for Power. We had presented a resolution to the minister requesting him to abandon the proposed power project in Marwah. However, nothing happened thereafter.”
He said that there is a scope of setting up four mini hydroelectric projects instead of this major project without displacing the population.
Zafarullah said that the concerned agency engaged in the construction of the project had not consulted them while preparing the environment report.
“We are asking to make the report public but it is not being done,” he said.
Zafarullah said that most residents of Kishtwar were not ready to accept the project and there was a strong resentment among them.
“Some bureaucrats tried to show that locals support the project, but this is not the ground reality. As the residents were neglected, they started protesting from July 2017,” he said.
Zafarullah said that the land required for setting up a reservoir was 79.30 sq km and that they have acquired 17.29 sq km from High Altitude National Park.
He said that the area falls under the earthquake zone and that the project would bring down the temperature of the area that would have an adverse effect on the agrarian society.
“The project planners did not consider the climatic conditions,” Zafarullah said.
He said that the government did not have any proper plan to rehabilitate the people who would be uprooted.
Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Ashok Kumar Sharma told Greater Kashmir that he had no knowledge about the status of the project.
“It is not in my notice though there might be something at the DPR stage,” he said.