A notification issued on 15 June by the state government, informing about the creation of a local area development fund (LADF) for the hydropower projects-affected people, has run into trouble. A section of the project-affected people has rejected some of the provisions of the notification. The Pare Project Land Affected Welfare Committee and the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project MoU Demand Committee have both made a strong statement, rejecting the composition of the local area development committees (LADC).
As per the notification, the projects funded under the LADF will be implemented through the LADCs. The deputy commissioners of the districts concerned will be the chairpersons of the committees, which will have ZPCs, ZPMs, and district-level officers as members. The project-affected people have raised objection to the composition of the LADC. The decision to keep actual project-affected people out of the committee has hurt the sentiments of the project-affected people. They have called for correction and issuing of fresh notification by including the project-affected people. Now it is up to the state government to decide whether to agree to their demand or not. On a closer look, the demand of the project-affected citizens seeking inclusion of their members in the LADCs has some merit. They are really affected people and know the ground realities. The inclusion of PRI members can also lead to a lot of politics in the implementation of the LADF on the ground. The state government should listen to the voice of the project-affected people. There is still time for course correction.