After two boycotts, Himachal villagers ready for elections

 The residents of four tiny villages in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district had given the panchayat polls a miss twice. But this time around, their attempt is not to vote but to get their members unanimously elected.

The villagers, mainly the tribals, had boycotted the elections in December 2010 and by-elections in November 2011, saying the 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project of infrastructure major Jaiprakash Associates Ltd affected their livelihood and damaged the local ecology.

The villagers of Urni, Yula, Chagaon and Miru in Nichar sub-division have decided to participate in Panchayati Raj polls slated for December 23.

“This time we have decided to participate in the panchayat elections and get our representatives elected,” Karcham Wangtoo Sangharsh Samiti president Vinay Negi said.
He said the project-hit villagers have started getting their dues.

The samiti had mobilised the villagers against voting in the 22 wards of the four panchayats till the compensation was settled. Now, it’s aiming to elect the panchayat unanimously.
“We are convincing the locals not to go for voting and to have a unanimously elected panchayat,” Negi added.

The residents say more than a dozen villages in the vicinity of the hydropower project face a water shortage as most of the traditional sources have dried up due to massive construction.

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