Lakhwar-Vyasi Dam Project: Lohari village to be ‘drowned’; 90 families go homeless in 48 hours

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Dehradun: As many as 90 families in Uttarakhand’s Lohari village find themselves hanging in a limbo with nowhere to go as the Dehradun district administration handed them notices to ‘leave the area within 48 hours’ for the development of a hydroelectric project. The villagers, shocked and enraged by the administration’s warning, are witnessing what many claim to be a recall to the ‘Tehri moment’.

The local residents question how they will be able to leave the community in such a short period of time. However, with no choice left, they have begun packing their goods.

The villagers’ anguish at being removed from their ancestral village is palpable in their eyes. The locals are concerned about how they would locate a new house in such a short period of time. 

According to the administrative officials, the action is being initiated to leave the village in accordance with the rules.

Around 334 families from six neighbouring villages are being affected by the Lakhwar-Vyasi dam project. One of these is Lohari, a tribal-populated community with a distinct Jaunsar-Bhabar culture and history. The lake will gradually swallow this entire village of 90 families.

The villagers have now become food slaves, refugees at a nearby school, and are witnessing their village, houses and crops drown inch by inch. People are visibly hurt, as could be seen with tears rolling down their eyes.

On the other end, AK Baranwal, ADM Dehradun, clarified that the process of eviction should’ve commenced around 3-4 months earlier but couldn’t take place due to the Assembly elections. He said, “We’re providing vehicles and labour to help the villagers.”

Lohari village is being affected by both the Lakhwar and Vyasi projects. For the Lakhwar-Vyasi project, a land purchase agreement was struck in 1972 between the government and the locals. Between 1977 and 1989, the village acquired 8,495 hectares of land. While the Lakhwar project still needs to acquire around 9 hectares of land.

first published:April 10, 2022, 4:23 p.m.

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