Renuka dam oustees await rehab, jobs

Renuka dam oustees await rehab, jobs

2022-05-03 00:35:51

Tribune News Service

Ambika Sharma

Solan, May 2

Locals facing displacement due to the Renukaji multi-purpose dam project in Sirmaur district are awaiting employment. As affected people have little source of income, they are banking on the job opportunities the project will generate. The tardy pace of rehabilitation and employment generation is, however, making them anxious.

“Around 13.14 lakh mandays of work will be generated for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled youths of the state. In line with the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy, a programme will be run for skill enhancement of the local youth to enhance their employability. After commissioning of the project, one per cent of the annual revenue will be distributed to the beneficiaries of the affected area every year,” says a project official.

“While the validity of the environmental clearance has been extended by three years, the dam authorities have applied for fresh clearance for issuing fresh terms of reference for an environmental impact assessment and the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) before the Union Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change on April 4,” says Rahul Lotheta, PR manager.

The project, involving the diversion of 909 hectares of forestland, has been hanging fire for the past several decades.

To exploit the power potential of the Giri river, the initial investigation work was started in 1942 by the then Punjab Government. In 1964, the Himachal Government started investigation on two projects and the work on the Giri Hydroelectric Project was started in 1970s.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Rs 1,224.64 crore was accepted by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Department of Water Resources in 2000.

The project, however, failed to make headway and in 2015, the TAC again accepted the DPR in 2015 with the estimated cost rising to Rs 4,596.76 crore.

As the Compulsory Afforestation and Fund Management Authority did not have the required funds, the final forest clearance was stuck and the project was started yet again.

Yogender Kapila, president of the Renukaji Dam Sangharsh Samiti, says that the project-affected families should be identified soon so that benefits such as housing, land and jobs can be made available to those hit by the project.

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