Himachal dam row spills to Delhi’s fruit market

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SHIMLA - Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Tuesday said the Delhi government should not expect any cooperation in the controversial Renuka dam project unless it stops charging extra commission from the state’s apple growers.

Dhumal alleged that the Delhi government was asking Himachal’s apple farmers to shell out extra money at the capital’s wholesale fruits and vegetables market in Azadpur.

“How is Delhi expecting that we will quench their thirst by providing them water when they are fleecing our apple growers?” he told IANS here.

Dhumal was referring to the Rs.2,700 crore ($560 million) Renuka dam to be built on a tributary of the Yamuna river in Sirmaur district of the state. Besides generating power for Himachal, the project would provide drinking water to Delhi.

The project has been mired in controversy as it will displace hundreds of farmers and submerge fertile land. Around 100 villagers from the state began a two-day protest in New Delhi Monday against the dam.

The hydroelectric project has run into trouble with the union environment and forests ministry as well, which objected to 775 hectares of forest land being used for constructing the dam.

Dhumal also accused the Congress government in Delhi of overturning an earlier law passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which shifted the burden of paying commission on the buyers.

Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta said the state government had obtained a stay order from the Delhi High Court on the matter, but the Delhi government repealed the law.

Filed under: Economy

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