Hunger strike enters 48 days
Kishtwar, 22 May: The residents of scores of villages in Marwah sub-division of Kishtwar district have been observing hunger strike from past 48 days against the planned construction of Bursar Hydroelectric Power Project on the Marusudar River which is a tributary of the Rriver Chenab and passes through dozens of villages in Marwah.The hunger strike according to locals began on April 5 last month which has still no ended due to ‘callous’ attitude of the government.The local villagers mostly farmers and students have been protesting and resisting the planned construction of the power project since October 2017.“Nobody is listening to us. Our voices don’t reach to the power corridors of the state because we live in one of the remotest areas of J&K which remains cut off from the rest of the State for more than six months in winters. There is no development in our region. No roads and electricity,” said Zafar, President Marwah Bachao Tehreek.“Now this dam will displace thousands of the families destroying our existence and we won’t allow it any cost,” he added.Zafar said that the protest and hunger strike will continue until planned construction on Bursar dam is canceled because villagers are not ready in any circumstance to hand over their lands and residential houses to government. “We won’t accept any compensation or job at the cost of our ancestral land. Even though people in this region are illiterate but they know well that this dam will destroy their existence and render them landless,” he added.“Neither DC nor local MLA or MLC have visited to address our grievances,” Zafar said.He further questioned the environment clearance given by the central government to the dam despite the fact that dam is within 10 km radius of Kishtwar High Altitude National Park (KHANP).
“Once the construction work started over 20000 people will get displaced – – while those left behind will neither find land for burial of dead or for the cremation – – -and everything will get submerged in water said Sheikh Aabid.He said that government should focus on providing better health care facilities, better education, roads, electricity to the inhabitants of Marwah, Warwan and Dachhan rather then conspire to displaced the poor people from there own land.Sheikh Aabid added that they beside fight for the right of people on streets will also fight in the court for safeguarding the interest of the local people of Marwah who are opposing the construction of Bursar project with tooth and nails.
Sheikh Aabid warns the government and the NHPC of serious repercussions in case they go ahead with the proposal of construction of the Dam in the area.The project is planned as a storage scheme on river Marusudar with an installed capacity of 800 MW. The dam will be the first storage project constructed by India under the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.