Pancheshwar project hold meeting
DEHRADUN The ministerial sub-committee meeting regarding rehabilitation of the people affected by Pancheshwar dam project was held under the chairmanship of Uttarakhand Irrigation Minister Satpal Maharaj at the secretariat, here on Wednesday. Uttarakhand Finance Minister Parkash Pant who is also convenor of the sub-committee, Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik and Agriculture Minister Subodh Uniyal participated.
A ministerial sub-committee was formed for the rehabilitation of the affected people of the proposed Pancheswar dam project as per the Indo-Nepal Mahakali Treaty-1996. The meeting discussed the background details, rehabilitation, livelihood of the affected people, local area development of the area, tourism development and other related issues to form a policy. The members contended that the suggestions given by the members in the earlier meeting held on January 31 should be incorporated in the policy framework.
The Chairman of the sub-committee and members suggested that the government properties likely to be affected by the project should also be included in the assessment so that the affected people do not suffer due to uprooting of business establishment, schools, hospitals and other government infrastructure.
Satpal Maharaj suggested that the experiences of the rehabilitation issues of Tehri dam project should also be taken into account so that any house owner, tenants, land less labourer, non- agriculture labourers, small farmers, people involved in service sector are not adversely affected during relief and rehabilitation process.
He also discussed in details the issues of land acquisition rates, land for land, cash amount to be given to affected families as per price index for the people to be affected by Pancheshwar project.
Finance Minister Prakash Pant said that the Government is committed to protect the interests of people affected by the project. They reviewed the issue of government assets such as hospitals, schools, drinking water, electricity, roads, in the DPR. During the construction of the project, it has been suggested to fix the amount of compensation for livelihood of people in the current perspective. While giving interview to electronic media, he said that in the Draft Meeting of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, the recommendations have been included by the sub-committee; in which the protection of the interests of the people of the area has been kept in mind.
He said that he believe that while this national-interest project will benefit the country, the responsibility of the state government is to maintain the interests of people of that region for which meetings of the ministerial sub-committee had been held in different phases. He said that it is the responsibility of the state government to take care of the livelihood of the affected people affected by Pancheshwar dam. Due to this, the draft of the rehabilitation policy will be prepared taking into account every aspect including the demands of the oustees , and then would be brought in the cabinet.
- Drawing attention to possible problems in the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Urban Development Mminister Madan Kaushik instructed the Chief Engineer of Irrigation Department, to ensure that the interests of migrants are not affected. He instructed to fix the standards, keeping in mind- the rates of time of planning during the construction, house building assistance, lump-sum increase in livelihood assistance, and maintenance allowance, etc.
State Agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal said that the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy will also be used to preserve the interests of nearby habitats and a provision will be included in the policy regarding this. He highlighted the experience of rehabilitation work of Tehri Dam, and said that a policy is being prepared keeping Tehri Dam’s experiences in mind. He informed that during construction of Tehri dam, non-inclusion of land erosion in Bhilangana block and Dobrachati Bridge resulted in manifold increased cost of Tehri dam. Such issues will be ‘taken care of’ in the construction of Pancheshwar dam project.
- Among those present in the meeting were Chief Secretary (Irrigation) Anand Bardhan, Secretary (drinking-water) Arvind Singh Hyanki, Additional Secretary Ranveer Singh Chauhan, chief engineer (state irrigation) Aditya Kumar Dinkar, Additional Secretary (Irrigation) Devendra Paliwal and others.