The high court of Uttarakhand has issued notices to the Central Government, State Government and the pollution control board and sought replies within three weeks in a PIL filed regarding the hydro electric project on the Rishiganga river in Reni village located in Chamoli district. This is the village to which Chipko Movement leader Gaura Devi belonged.
About 60 scheduled tribe families reside in the village. On behalf of the villagers, Kundan Singh had filed a PIL in the high court.
The petitioner averred that when work on the project was started in 2005, villagers had been promised employment. Their lands were used but they have not yet received adequate compensation or employment.
The company working on the project also put environmental laws at stake by indulging in acts like detonations to break rocks on the riverbed. The petitioner further alleged that the historical path used by Gaura Devi and her peers to enter the forest was also closed.
Considering the seriousness of the case, the division bench of chief justice Ramesh Ranganathan and justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe issued notices to the Centre, State and pollution control board, seeking response within three weeks.