Bandipora: Work on the Kishanganga Hydel Power Project (KGHPP) remained suspended for the sixth day today as the workers are protesting against the executing construction company Hindustan Construction Corporation (HCC). The workers are protesting denial of due share of work and development promised to them.
The villagers, who were displaced due to the Power Project, were promised jobs and many developmental initiatives to be taken, in a signed agreement in the year 2009 with the HCC executive body head K.S Pathania in presence of the then Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Sharif Sood and other officers of the district.
However the locals of Kralpora, where around 163 villagers have been displaced alleged betrayal and said that nothing has been done in this regard as construction nears completion.
“The agreement was basically aimed at rehabilitation and compensation. But the villagers were not vacating their lands as they didn’t get fair amount in return for their land. So find a way out, the affected families were promised jobs, which proved a motivation point,” Reyaz Ahmad, a villager said.
“We were provided peanuts in lieu of our rich and fertile lands, whileas affected families in Gurez were given double the amount. Jobs was the only reason which motivated us to surrender to the administration after eight months of continuous strike in 2009,” Bashir Ahmad, affected by the project , said.
The agreement, copy of which lies with the Kashmir Reader clearly mentions employment for affected families. It reads that the Deputy Commissioner sought list of educated unemployed youths among the affected families. The deputy commissioner along with the executing agency assured that qualified and unemployed skilled youth will be adjusted in phased manner in the executing agency. It was further mentioned that the required staff in the colony will preferably be taken from these affected families.
“The agreement was the first betrayal. Agreement shown to us late in the night stated that the members of affected families would be given jobs through various R&M contractors, which was never acceptable to us,” the villagers said adding that the youth from affected families were employed as daily wagers for a period of one year and then were forcefully removed from the company. “The administration resorted to use of force when the villagers protested. Outsiders were employed to fill vacancies in the corporation. Since the colony has also been completed, no jobs were provided to the affected villagers,” the protestors said.
“Development promised to these villagers too remains an unkept promise. There are no proper roads, electricity and green houses as promised. Many houses, which were damaged due to blasting at the construction site were not properly compensated,” lamented the villagers.
The protestors vowed to continue with their indefinite protest against the corporation, unless promises made to them were not fulfilled.