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Padyatra 1st Week: Most Hydel projects would leave villagers high & dry

Garhwal Post 8 January 2008
By our staff reporter

Dehradun, 7 Jan: On the seventh day of the ‘Save the Rivers Campaign’, people raised many contentious issues of water and benefit sharing. The campaigners were able to demystify a few myths associated with hydro power projects.

In the Mandakini Valley, the padyatra began from Raidi, where a public meeting was also organised. Some 150 people including 65 women participated. Speakers highlighted the various objectives of the ‘Save the Rivers Campaign’. One of the leading construction companies, Larsen & Tubro Pvt Ltd had projected a rosy picture about the costs and benefits of hydro power projects, which had led to misconceptions among the locals. The speakers were able to clarify these misconceptions as well as make them aware of the various “hidden” implications of the projects. Sushila Devi, leader of the Mahila Mangal Dal in Raidi, played a pivotal role in mobilising and conscientising the community to move along with the campaign. She also urged villagers to think of exercising their legal provisions against the company. Inspired by her speech, many villagers agreed to extend their full support to the campaign. A large contingent of women escorted the padyatris to their next destination, Haat. Another public meeting of similar crowd capacity was also held there. Some of the villagers are expected join the campaign till its culmination at Ramnagar, where the future course of action would be decided. [more]