Kinnaur people protest as hydro project-induced landslides become frequent


People aged from 8 years to 90 are gathering on roads of Kinnaur holding placards in hands saying #SaveKinnaur #NomeansNo. This comes after the continuous landslides that have been happening in this area for quite a long time and the recent Kinnaur landslide accident gave the campaign a boost on social media. Kinnaur and nearby villages’ people are claiming that the exaggerated work on the tunnel excavations is causing major Landslides in the area and theirs’ lives are at continuous threat.

Victims of landslides who are admitted to the hospital, some people’s news comes at the surface and some suffer in silence, says Kyang page’s admin who started the #SaveKinnaur campaign on social media and wishes to remain anonymous.

The localities of Jang Ram Valley started this campaign way back in 2007. The localities are saying that all these efforts are made to stop Jangi Thopan hydro project which got approved in the year 2006 but has yet to start in this area. It is also because a 12km underground tunnel has to be excavated in this project which would endanger the available water resources of this area and people here are highly dependent on these water resources.

Sunder Negi, Vice-President of Rarang Panchayat Sangharsh Committee, said, “There is one Kashang project in village Pangi which got developed in the year 2002, and whose ill effects are still affecting the villagers and people who are crossing the national highway nearby to this project. The most prominent landslide during the June 2013 floods was in one portion of Pangi village, which is above the underground powerhouse of the Kashang project where the road construction for the Kashang Stage-I dam site took place. In this incident, 7 houses were completely damaged with several apple orchard fields. People had been demanding the company carry out mitigation measures but no action was taken.”

Now, this campaign has taken a bigger shape as the local Panchayat leaders to big political parties are taking part in this campaign. Radhika Negi, Pradhan Ribba village (Kinnaur) says, “There are proposed hydro projects for which government is on research work and continuous excavations over mountains is causing major chaos for people residing here. It is we, who are suffering the most, not the government. We are now tired of drastic construction work over mountains. So, we are now adamant that no further projects of any kind would be allowed in this area.”