The proposed thermal power plant at Amravati to be built by Indiabulls Pvt Ltd is being opposed in the Bombay high court.
On December 17, 2007, the government had permitted the firm to set up the Rs14,000 crore project with 2,640 MW capacity under the Mega Power Policy.
A bunch of petitions have been filed in the high court opposing the plant because of the government’s decision to allocate 87.6 million cubic meter water to the project in the water starved district.
On Tuesday, the division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice Rajesh Ketkar had kept the all the petitions, which have been clubbed together, for hearing in June.
Counsels for one of the petitioners, Society for Backlog Removal and Development — Srihari Aney and Madhav Jamdar — sought an early date of hearing saying that the farmers are being deprived of water for irrigation. “It should be heard at the earliest,” said Aney.
A separate public interest litigation was filed by former legislator BT Deshmukh.
According to the Society’s petition, thousands of farmers in Amravati district will be deprived of irrigation facilities because of the government’s decision to allocate the large amount of water to the project. The water will be diverted from the Upper Wardha Project.
The governor has been repeatedly issuing directions to the government seeking funds for the removal of the irrigation backlog in the district at the earliest.
The backlog in the irrigation sector of Amravati division as on April 1, 2007 is Rs. 2477.65 crore which is 77% of the total irrigation backlog in the state and 99.2% in the Vidarbha region.
Indiabulls filed a counter petition stating the governor has no power to issue directives for fund allocation for a particular project (irrigation).
“The governor only has supervisory powers under the Article 371 of the Constitution [of India],” argued counsel for Indiabulls, Mukul Rohatgi.
Rohatgi and Vineet Naik — the firm’s other counsel — argued that even the thermal plant has invested lot of money and still has not been able to commission the plant.
Their petition claims that they have already invested Rs. 1,250crore and recruited 4,500 locals to work on the project to ensure the timely commissioning of the thermal power plant.