Shimla, Sep 18
Himachal Pradesh Government accepted in the state assembly that it could not settle the oustees of Bhakra Dam affected and a joint committee of Finance Commissioner and local MLAs are looking into the matter. Replying to the query raised by Cong MLA Ram Lal Thakur Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said in the question hour that the issue of Bhakra dam oustees is pending for a long time. ”Being an oldest project of Independent India, Government is highly concerned over pending settlement of the oustees displaced by this project as they could not be rehabilitated for a long time. ” Minister said. ” A joint committee comprising of finance commissioner , member of Assembly from Bilaspur (Subhash Thakur), Kutlehar (Verinder Kawnar), Ghumarwin (Jeet Ram Katwal), Naina Devi (Ram Lal Thakur) are hearing the issue and file its report after meeting the affected parties, ” said the Minister.
First meeting of this committee was held in the month of Feb however after that it could not meet again. A report was sought from Deputy Commissioner Una and next meeting would be held after having this report soon said the State Government.
Minister said that after formation of Jai Ram Government in 2017, understanding the concern of the issue a joint committee of officers and MLAs was notified in 2018. ”If state government could not settle or rehabilitate people affected by one project then it also becomes difficult for it to acquire the lands for other projects, ” added minister.
Earlier Ram Lal Thakur said that people from Una to Bilaspur are affected by it and are living in pathetic conditions. ‘High Court passed an order recently to remove encroachment and therefore officials of forest and district administration disconnected the power and water connections of these oustees,” said the member.
The Revenue department had earlier permitted the affected to acquire 150 square meter land near their habitation but now under light of high court order such possessions are declared illegal, alleged Thakur.
Member said that the issue of Bhakra oustees could not be compared with the oustees of Pong dams and other projects. He said that being first project and oustees were not given proper compensations and displacement. The Minister said that the Government decided to pay Rs 2.45 compensation to the floor mills and Rs four to five per square meter to the irrigated lands used by people to grow paddy.