Tag Archives: June 22

Four officials taken hostage by Himachal villagers freed

23 Jun

cross posted from here

Indo-Asian News Service
June 22, 2011

Shimla, June. 22 — Four government functionaries associated with a mega hydropower project in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district [India] were taken hostage by villagers protesting over environmental issues and released after a day in captivity Wednesday, officials said.

The protesters were demanding acceptance of their demands by state-run Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) executing a mega run-of-the-river hydropower project on a Satluj tributary.

“All the four government functionaries, including three senior officials of the HPPCL who were kept under house arrest by villagers since Tuesday, were released on the HPPCL’s assurance that most of their demands would be accepted,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate Naresh Thakur told IANS over phone.

He said the villagers demands included grant of construction contracts to locals and steps to prevent deterioration of environment.

The project of 130 MW is called Kashang hydropower project. It is being made on Kashang rivulet, some 275 km from state capital Shimla, and is being funded by the Asian Development Bank.

HPPCL General Manager S.P. Gupta said the released hostages included project’s Executive Engineer C.L. Dhiman along with a senior research fellow of the Himachal Pradesh University. They had been kept in captivity at the ‘panchayat ghar’ in Pangi village, the second largest in the district with a population of over 2,500 people.

The ministry of environment and forests has already granted an environmental clearance to the project. Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indo-Asian News Service. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

Copyright 2011 HT Media Ltd.All Rights Reserved
Indo-Asian News Service

Environmentalists protest against Danbei expressway project

22 Jun

By Hermia Lin

Cross-posted from here

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Environmentalists and residents of Danshui in northern Taiwan gathered in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Wednesday to protest against the proposed construction of an expressway along the north bank of the Danshui River.

It’s better to adopt low-carbon measures than to build expensive roads, the protesters said.

An EPA committee in April conditionally approved the construction of the 4.7 km Danbei (Danshui-Taipei) expressway. At a meeting Wednesday, the committee reaffirmed its decision.

The government has said the expressway would aid the development of Danshui Township, help to improve the flow of traffic and speed up evacuation in the event of a nuclear disaster.

However, environmental groups are opposed to project on grounds that it would destroy the mangrove wetlands along the Danshui River and damage the environment.

One of the protesters, Wang Yu-tsang who lives in Danshui, said he did not agree that the traffic congestion in the area could be solved simply by building such an expressway and he was worried about the adverse impact on the mangrove wetlands.

Moreover, the safety of cyclists will be compromised if the expressway is built, he said.

He suggested that the city government consider ways of improving Danshui’s public transportation system. Increasing the number of MRT trains to the city is one way to do so, he said.

Tsui Su-hsin, secretary general of the Green Citizens Action’s Alliance, said environmental groups are very disappointed at the EPA committee’s decision and will continue to oppose the project. They will petition New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu to stop the project and will stage more protests in September, she said.

The EPA said in a news release Wednesday that the developers should consult with New Taipei City officials and the Council of Agriculture to confirm the boundaries between the construction site and the mangrove wetlands before the project begins. The developers should also conduct environmental impact studies for at least six years, the EPA said.