Tharis take part in protest sit-in against atrocities of coal power plant companies

  • Calendar Oct 31, 2020

October 31, 2020: Thar coal companies have continued atrocities against local people that include violations of agreements, environmental pollution, dispossession of people, inclusion of outsiders, mismanagement in land compensation and ignoring local people in the employment.

Protesting against such atrocities, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) along with other political and social organizations as well as local people held a historical rally and sit-in in Islamkot, which forced the district administration to come on the table and have dialogue with the protesters.

People of Thar, affected from Thar coal block I, block II, Gorano Dam and Vejhiar Dam protested against the atrocities of the management of coal power plant companies. Protesters started a rally from Islamkot Press Club to Bypass where they held sit-in for four hours.

PFF Chairman Muhammad Ali Shah, Awami Tehreek’s advocate Vasand Thari, Obhayo Junejo, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Muhammad Khan Loond, Bheemraj and Arab Mehranpoto led the protest.

Hundreds of people from Khario Ghulam Shah, Tilwayo, Varwai, Ahsan Shah’s Tar, Thario Halepoto, Gorano and other villages participated in rally and sit-in. Traders of Islamkot, in solidarity with the protesters, closed their shops for few hours and participated in the protest.

The protesters also burned tyres while several vehicles were jammed for around four hours. A large number of police also gathered at the sit-in place, where situation became tense.

Assistant commissioner Nuhaid Ahmed reached in the protest and wanted the protest to be ended but the protester refused then ADC-1 Mithi Kabir Shah arrived but protesters wanted to talk to DC or CEO’s of the two coal companies. On his assurance to have a meeting with DC Tharparkar on Nov 3, the protesters were disbursed peacefully.

Earlier, protesters said that the coal companies had continued atrocities with the local people, who were ignored in the employment. Outsiders were employed on projects. Besides, the local people were not paid the proper compensation of their land. There was also environmental pollution and land degradation caused by the coal mining.

They said that in the name of development, Tharis were forced to face the destruction.

Meeting with DC Tharparkar 

In a meeting with the protesters on November 3, 2020, Deputy Commissioner Tharparkar sought 10 days period to fulfil several demands including providing minutes of the meeting, details of the funds of the foundation, list of employees hired by the companies and giving priority to the local people in employment. He assured to forward other issues to the Sindh government for the solution while its copy would be provided to the committee. In the meeting, DC said that Thar’s elected representative should also take efforts to resolve the issues.

After meeting with the DC Tharparkar, a meeting was held with the representatives of all blocks that decided to constitute a six-member committee for the dialogue with the district administration. The committee includes Muhammad Ali Shah, Muhammad Khan Lund, Vasand Thari, Bheemraj, Obhayo Junejo and Bhooral Shah. The committee was empowered by the participants to conduct dialogue with the administration after taking the affected people in the confidence.

This is just start of the campaign, which would be continued along with dialogue with the authorities while awareness would be created among the people in every affected village of Thar.

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