Kullu: In yet another incident of state using force on behalf of a private company in Himachal Pradesh on protesting locals, on Sunday the police here carried out a lathicharge at Malana village in which around 10 people were injured and 16 others detained. For the last 10 days villagers had been protesting against the 100-megawatt Malana II project, which is being constructed by the Everest Power Company (EPPL), at the project site.
Sources revealed that the lathicharge was carried out without any magisterial orders. On the other hand, villagers claimed that they had been protesting peacefully without harming infrastructure at the site. The opposition to the project dates back to the initial days when it was first announced more than five years ago. After initial opposition, the company had managed to initiate work on the project by making claims of development to the people of the main affected village, Malana. However, villagers allege the company failed to fulfill any of the promises of employment and infrastructure improvement and as a result they started their agitation on August 28 by stalling work on the project.
Before this, villagers had stalled work on April 15, 2009, after which there was an agreement between the two parties on a judicial paper in presence of the district administration, according to which the company was supposed to construct roads and paths, irrigation channels, hospital, drinking water facility, and provide free electricity and employment to youth and compensation amount for land acquired for the project. But the company allegedly failed to fulfill the agreement, due to which Malana residents again stalled the work last week.