CPI-M seeks probe into Himachal hydro project

Shimla: The CPI-M's Himachal Pradesh unit on Saturday sought probe into the financial bungling and ongoing unrest for over three months in the state-run upcoming 450 MW Shongtong-Karcham hydropower project in Kinnaur district. In a missive to Chief Secretary V.C. Pharka, CPI-M state secretariat member Tikender Singh Panwar said certain amount of excavation work was done which was not associated with the project. "The work has been awarded to facilitate some important people of the regiona...this has to be thoroughly investigated," he said. Panwar, who is also the Shimla Deputy Mayor, said there was unrest among the project employees. "There are many reasons attributed to the unrest that flows from the non-payment of wages to the workers to intimidation at the behest of the management," he said. Panwar blamed project general manager Ajay Patial for the financial bungling and unrest and sought a vigilance probe against him. "The general manager has retired from his services and has been given an extension for the reasons which none is able to accept," he said in the letter. Strike by employees of the project entered 101 days on Saturday. They were demanding implementation of labour laws by Patel Engineering Ltd undertaking its construction. The state-run Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation (HPPCL) is executing the project with the funding of the Asian Development Bank.