Srinagar: The land acquisition by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) for constructing a transmission line for the Kishenganga Power project through Chack-Panji-Gham in Bandipora is drawing a strong protest by residents of the area.
Villagers allege that the corporation and the civil administration was “hell-bent to snatch their property” for ne benefit to them. The corporation they said had a singular aim of “supply(ing) electricity to different Indian states”.
“Despite our objection, the concerned authorities are least bothered. We approached them several times but they pay no heed to our request,” a resident of the village told Kashmir Reader.
The residents also allege that the Deputy Commissioner of Bandipora district harassed a delegation of villagers in a meeting at his office. The delegation, they say, had approached the commissioner for his help in retaining the land.
“He used foul-language and threw us out of his office. He called us Gujjars and said that nobody shall listen to us even if we managed to take our complaint to the Chief Minister,” said one of the delegation members who visited the DC’s office. “He said that the order will not change,” the villager added.
Kashmir Reader contacted Deputy Commissioner, Sajad Hussan Gani, for his reaction to the allegation, but he hung up as he heard the question.
The villagers said that NHPC deceived them when they conducted a survey in the area two years ago. “We were told that the purpose of the survey was to see the feasibility of an irrigation canal. We came to know about their plan of erecting towers couple of months ago when NHPC officials visited our area offering compensation for our paddy lands,” another resident said.
Mohmmad Shafi Sheikh, a physically challenged villager, said that NHPC had marked four out of seven kanals of his family land for takeover. “I can’t give them the land, because we don’t have any-other property. I have five siblings who have a share in the land. We don’t need any compensation from the government but our land,” he said.
Mohmmad Anwar Baba, another resident, suggested that NHPC should construct the line over the hills instead of the paddy land. “It will reduce the distance as well,” he said.
The villagers said that that they will oppose NHPC’s project through the paddy fields. “They will have to take our land over our dead bodies,” a villager said.