Amid posters against NTPC, Joshimath set to hold protest on Republic day

Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti convener said the government is giving clean-chit to NTPC

Updated - January 15, 2023 08:06 pm IST

Published - January 15, 2023 07:15 pm IST - New Delhi

Joshimath residents are demanding that the govt. take money for rehabilitation from NTPC.

Joshimath residents are demanding that the govt. take money for rehabilitation from NTPC. | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Amid the poster of ‘Go back NTPC’, the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (JBSS) on Sunday announced a protest across the town on January 26.

Demanding the government to take money for the rehabilitation of Joshimath from NTPC , the villagers will stage a protest at the Tehsil office on Republic day along with blocking the roads and highways.  

Explaining the reason to hold a protest even when the State government has already announced relief package and is helping the displaced and affected families, the convener of JSSB, Atul Sati told The Hindu that the government is giving clean-chit to NTPC and this has infuriated the residents.

“The Chief Minister Uttarakhand, Mr Pushkar Singh Dhami termed the current situation in Joshimath as natural calamity. Its not,” said Mr. Sati, who added that the war is now between the people of Joshimath and the NTPC whose 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad project has damaged the town.

“When NTPC has damaged our town and homes, why the government is not holding it accountable and seeking money for rehablitation. We will continue the fight untill the government recovers the money for the damage to Joshimath from NTPC and will not ban the power project,” he added.

Explaining how the NTPC is not alone and power projects have created havoc in the Himalyan towns, Mr. Sati said that Chayeen village, which is around 15 km from Joshimath, experienced land sinking after Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited (JPVL) 400 MW Vishnuprayag dam’s tunnel began leaking in 2007.

“Lambagar, Raini, are other villagers where you can easily find traces of damages done by power projects and dams. It’s nothing new,” he said adding that people from nearby 50 villagers will be invited to participate in the protest on 26th.

The JBSS’s van, with a loudspeaker on its top, keep on making rounds across the town and nearby areas to call people to come to participate in the protest.

“Aap aaiye or apni ladai ladiye,” the announcement from the JBSS van says.

Supporting Mr. Sati, Naini Singh Bhandari, said that NTPC has left the town on the verge of sinking and the plant has to be shut.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Disaster Management Uttarakhand government, Ranjit Kumar Sinha, also visited Joshimath on Sunday and carried out an on-site inspection of landslide-affected areas like Auli Ropeway, Manohar Bagh, Shankaracharya Math, JP Colony etc. He was also accompanied by a team of  Geologists.

“We are moving step by step towards solving the problems of Joshimath area affected by landslide. Providing immediate relief and rescue to the affected people is the biggest priority of the state government. The affected families are being shifted to safer places with urgency. The work of marking the affected buildings is going on continuously. Teams of geologists and experts are engaged in the work of investigating the causes of the landslide,” he said.

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