Reports: Land Taken Under “Public Purpose” For Adani’s Thermal Power Plant In Jharkhand To Supply Electricity To Bangladesh
June 13th, 2018
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Adani Power Limited of the Adani group is building a coal-fired thermal power plant in Godda, Jharkhand which will have the capacity to generate 1,600 megawatts of electricity. The company plans to export all of the electricity generated to Bangladesh and the host state, Jharkhand will be entitled to 25% of the electricity which will be sourced from another project, details which have not been specified yet.
As per Adani group’s social impact assessment report, this project would require 1,214 acres of land and additional 74 acres will be required to build a 10 km private rail line to transport coal.
The Jharkhand’s energy policy was amended in 2016 to allow the company to charge higher price for the 25% electricity they are going to provide in comparison to the price people are being charged now. It is being reported that a government audit revealed that this would cause the state Rs 7,410 crore over 25 years.
As per a report by Scroll.in that the government would be forcibly buying the land from farmers on behalf of the company.
Of the 1,214 acres of land required for the project, the Jharkhand government has already acquired 174.84 acres of land. This land acquisition is reportedly done under the “public purpose” category. According to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act passed in 2013, even for the acquisition done under the “public purpose” category needs to be obtain consent of 80% of the landowners before the acquisition, which reportedly is not done in this case. It is being alleged that the despite the authorities claim that consent has been taken, many residents deny it.
As per the social impact assessment project, the land is being acquired from ten villages belonging to 841 families with 5,339 people. However, this number is based on a 1932 survey, hence greatly undermining the number of families and villagers who would be actually affected.
Many quarters have debated that since none of the electricity harvested under this project will be used in India and would be entirely directed to Bangladesh, how can this project be deemed under public purpose category. “With the Godda plant being set up only to evacuate electricity to Bangladesh, it is critical to justify how this is public purpose for India,” said Kanchi Kohli, the legal research director at the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Program.
She also added that, “A legalistic mention of the Ministry of Finance notification or electricity generation as the activity is not enough to determine public purpose, It requires a fair and transparent clarification, based on which the acquisition should be publicly reviewed and consent sought.”
One of the villagers, 75-year-old Gayatri Devi from Sondiha, who fasted for seven days in protest of this project, said, “We won’t give our land to Adani, even if they kill us, let them kill us on our plots. When I lost my husband early, what I made from the land helped me raise my children. This is our dharti mata [Mother Earth]. It has raised us. Our ancestors made this land cultivable with great difficulty, why would we leave it?”
Read more at Scroll.in