Nine villages in Raigad district have, for the third time, refused to allow Reliance Power Company and Tata Powers to build two mega thermal power projects about 120 km northeast of Mumbai. The two plants are expected to generate 5,600 MW once on stream.
This comes close on the heels of the referendum over the acquisition of land in 22 villages that blocked the Reliance Group’s proposed Mumbai Special Economic Zone in the district.
According to government sources, 1,276 farmers, owning 3,876 land accounts that made up for over 90 per cent of the 4,000 acres required for the projects, wrote to the district administration that the projects would directly affect their lives and the environment.
Bharat Patankar of Shramik Muktidhar and Villages Action Committee said the government would have no alternative but to roll back the process once again. He said, “The Konkan region is highly eco-sensitive. We will oppose all other coal-based energy projects in the coastal area.”
Last week, Reliance Power claimed the Rs 200-crore compensation package it had offered was the best in Maharashtra. But after the latest development, both Reliance and the Tata Powers — which have been acquiring land through Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation — did not comment. Patankar said the action committee had written to state rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam to restart the process. The villagers will take a protest march to the Mantralaya later this week if their demands are not met.