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Families Affected By Tehri Dam Project Have Fundamental Right To Compensation For Loss Of Basic Amenities: Uttarakhand HC

Uttarakhand High Court, on Wednesday, directed the Chief Secretary to resolve within three months all problems being faced by those affected by the construction of the Tehri dam.

“The members of the petitioner- Samiti have a fundamental right to get adequate compensation for loss of basic amenities including roads etc.,” Justice Rajiv Sharma observed.

The Court was hearing a Petition filed by the Tehri Bandh Prabhavit Sangharsh Samiti, which had brought to the attention of the Court that the project had affected about 22,000 families, and had disrupted the connectivity to several villages, causing them grave economical, sociological and geological problems.

Justice Sharma noted that the residents had highlighted their grievances by making representations before the District Magistrate, Tehri Garhwal. The District Magistrate had then sent a three-point recommendation to the State Government, including allocation of compensation of Rs 1.50 lakh per affected family, building of 50-bed hospitals in the areas and opening of technical institutes to provide training which would lead to employment of the village youth.

Their plea was, nevertheless, rejected by the Secretary to the Government of India. This rejection, the Court opined, was without taking into consideration the recommendations made by the District Magistrate as well as the various agreements entered into between the parties.  It further observed that the State should have adopted a “humane approach” while considering the case of the Petitioners.

“Accordingly, the writ petition is disposed of with the direction to the Chief Secretary, State of Uttarakhand, to decide the case of the petitioners within three months from today by taking into consideration the recommendations made by the District Magistrate, Tehri Garhwal and the State Government shall also construct sufficient numbers of roads in the area to provide better connectivity, subject to the availability of funds, within two years from today,” it thereafter directed.

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