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Ajodhya Hills Hydel Project

Ajodhya Hills Hydel Project

Why in news? 

  • Tribals opposed to a proposed hydel power project in the remote Ajodhya Hills in West Bengal have threatened to heighten their protests.

 Background

  • According to the Forest Rights Act, 2006 if a forest land has to be acquired, then at least 50% of the affected population dependent on the land has to give consent in gram sabha, and a third of the villagers have to be women.
  • Villagers, who are already reeling under severe water crisis, fear that things might take a turn for the worse with the project
  • The villagers protesting against the project refer to the 900 MW Purulia Pumped Storage Project (PPSP) that came up at Ajodhya Hills in the Baghmundi block of Purulia district around a decade ago. The villagers allege that it lead to massive loss of vegetation and hundreds of tribals lost their livelihoods.

Ajodhya Hills

  • Ajodhya Hills is a small plateau with hilly surroundings located in the Purulia district of the state West Bengal.
  • It is the easternmost part of the Chhotanagpur Plateau and extended part of Eastern Ghats range. Highest peak of Ajodhya Hills is Chamtaburu.
  • The hills are largely inhabited by Santals, an ethnic tribe with a population of over 25,00,000 (25 lakh) across West Bengal.
  • The tribe speaks Santali, an Austroasiatic language that is the most widely-spoken of the Munda languages.
  • The Turga Pumped Storage Project (TPSP) aims to utilise the waters of the Turga, a tributary of the Subarnarekha river, for peak power generation on a pumped storage type development.
  • The hills are largely inhabited by Santals, an ethnic tribe with a population of over 25,00,000 (25 lakh) across West Bengal, according to the 2011 Census.

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