Crop at risk, apple growers halt work on power project

Crop at risk, apple growers halt work on power project

2022-04-01 00:34:30

Tribune News Service

Subhash Rajta

Shimla, March 31

Fruit growers have forced the authorities to temporarily stop work at Luhri Stage-1 Hydro Electric Project, Neerath, near Rampur, claiming dust emanating from the site due to blasting is affecting pollination in apple.

“Apple trees are in full bloom and fruit will be set in another 10 days. However, dust is settling on the flowers and is affecting pollination, which will hit the yield,” said Sandeep Shroal, pradhan, Thanadar panchayat.

“The SJVN Ltd, which is building the project, had been ignoring our requests to stop blasting for 10 days. So we forced them to stop the work,” he said.

Protesters claim fruit growers of 13 panchayats of the Kullu, Rampur and Kotgarh areas were affected. To ensure that the work remains stalled, the panchayats have begun a dharna at the site for the next 10 days. “On our first day of the protest, no one from the company approached us,” said Kaku Ram, vice pradhan, Shamathla panchayat. “In lower altitudes, stone fruit has been badly damaged by dust. We are now fighting to save the apple crop. Our livelihood depends on the yield. We can’t remain mute spectators to the destruction unleashed by the project,” he said. RL Negi, an official of the SJVN, said, “We have already installed sprinklers and will take more steps to control the dust.”

Dust from blasting poses threat to fruit

  • Orchardists fear dust clouds rising from Rampur project site in Shimla dist may hit pollination
  • They claim SJVN ignored their requests to stop blasting for 10 days
  • To ensure work remains stalled, 13 panchayats begin dharna at the site

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