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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Plant may be shifted to Jharkhand if job stalemate continues

Koushik Dutta, Hindustan Times  Raghunathpur, Purulia, September 19, 2013
First Published: 10:21 IST(19/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:25 IST(19/9/2013)

Will the Damodar Valley Corporation’s under construction thermal power plant here meet the same fate as Tata Motors’ Nano?

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That may well be a possibility as DVC authorities have hinted that if next week’s meeting between the locals and the administration is not fruitful, they might shift their plant to Jharkand’s Koderma.

It bears recall that Tata had been forced to shift its Nano project from the state in October 2008 following an agitation by land losers.

Although the agitating land losers, who had been protesting in front of the main gate of the DVC power plant here, have withdrawn their stir for now, they have threatened to launch a bigger movement if their demand for jobs is not met.

The locals who gave their land had launched their agitation on the ground that the DVC authorities had promised one member from each family (of land losers) would get employment.

About 1,600 acres of land was acquired for the power plant, another 350 acres for the rail corridor and 47 acres for the water corridor project. Sources add that the land of 2,200 families was acquired and they got Rs. 2 lakh an acre as compensation.

But with the DVC authorities not committing on the job demand, the land losers began their agitation from last Friday.

The stir was, however, withdrawn on Monday after the BDO of Raghunathpur II block, Utpal Ghosh, held discussions with the ‘land losers’ committee’ and assured them that the administration and the DVC authorities would sit for a discussion with them in the last week of this month.

The plan was to generate 1,200 MW of power from the two plants in the first phase, scheduled to start in 2012 but the project was delayed owing to land acquisition problems.

But after the land losers started their movement, work on the water corridor project, which is vital to the power generation at the plant, was stalled.

Incidentally, the DVC authorities are going to sit for discussions with the locals in the presence of the administration from September 24 to September 30.

But if the talks fail, a bigger movement would be launched.

The DVC authorities, on their part, fear that if the agitation starts again and the officials and others are not allowed to enter the plant, there would be more losses to the project. It would also hamper the overall power situation in Bengal and Jharkhand, since the switch yard of the plant is connected to the national grid.

“We have agreed to sit for a discussion with the land losers in the presence of the administration and hope that some solution will emerge. If there is no breakthrough, we have to think about what we will do in future,” Debasish Mitra, the chief engineer of the plant, said.


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