Not at the cost of peoples’ lives

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J&K High Court on Monday directed notices against Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) and the J&K Union Territory authorities for “illegally” constructing a grid station in a populated area in Harvan in the city outskirts. The HC directive has come as a big relief for the residents of the area who have been protesting against construction of grid station in a populated area. It may be recalled here that the site was already proposed for construction of a health centre and a school. The J&K Health and Medical Education Department had assented to the construction of new building for primary health center in part of the 20 kanal land. The Education Department had also given a favorable report for constructing a higher secondary school in remaining portion of the land. However, recently the PGCI without any authority started laying the construction material for their grid station on this piece of public land. The grid station is part of the ambitious project by Government of India to connect Leh (Ladakh) with its National Power Grid by a transmission line via Kashmir. The locals insist that construction of a grid station in a populated area would impact health and well being of the population living around it as it shall radiate electromagnetic waves.

Taking all these concerns into account, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur put the PGCI and some related senior heads of the departments in J&K on a short notice as to how the grid station is being constructed “flouting” the settled norms. The HC directive has come as a big relief to the concerned population and also help save the environment from further degradation as the PGCI, as per locals, has gone on an environmental rampage on the land by uprooting its valuable biodiversity. Oak and sweet chestnut trees brought in by Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947 have been pulled up by the bulldozers. If the grid station is constructed at the spot, it has every potential to destroy the water supply system and a large biomass.

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