Environmentalist roughed up at public hearing
>Shimla: In yet another incident of activists fighting against setting up of power projects in Himachal Pradesh being attacked, today member Himalayan Niti Abhiyan was roughed up during a public hearing against setting up of a power project. As the meeting was about to get over, Rahul Saxena of Himalayan Niti Abhiyan, who was distributing pamphlets on the legal powers of gram sabhas in giving NOCs for hydel power projects, was manhandled by some persons allegedly loyal to the contractor lobby executing power projects.
The main accused, Ramesh, supplying jeeps to a company involved in a hydel power project, caught Rahul and told him to stop distributing leaflets. The locals intervened just on time to save him from being beaten up. Later, DS Negi, who was presiding over the public hearing, also took exception to the manhandling. Rahul said the powerful contractor lobby often try to intimidate people who speak for the rights of locals by threatening them of dire consequences, but it wont work because opposition to indiscriminate exploitation of hill resources has already become a mass movement.