PM lays foundation stone of N-plant in Haryana | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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PM lays foundation stone of N-plant in Haryana

chandigarh Updated: Jan 13, 2014 16:34 IST
HT Correspondent

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday laid the foundation stone of proposed nuclear power plant having a capacity of 2800MW set up by Nuclear Power Plant Corporation of India Limited(NPCIL). Currently, there are 19 operating nuclear reactors in the country.

PM Singh was accompanied by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda; governor Jagananth Pahadia; union minister Kumari Selja; union minister V Narayanasamy; Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar and atomic energy commission chairman Rattan Kumar Sinha. In the first phase, two reactors 700x2 would be established in a time of 60 months, later on second leg work would be carried out.

An official of Nuclear Power Plant Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said that there was provision in the government of India policy of providing 50% of the generated electricity to Haryana at prescribed tariff and the electricity quota can be stretched up to 65% (15% from central government discretionary quota).

For establishing first two units (700 MW each), nearly 8,000-10,000 workers would be required for the construction, maintenance and operation, which later would be absorbed in the plant on contract basis.

"Preference for jobs would be given to locals as per their qualifications as labourers, technicians, computer operators, clerks etc.," the official said.

Ramphal Siwach, pardhan of Parmanu Lagao Samiti, said, "Most of the farmers had invested the money they had got as compensation for their land wisely in purchasing land in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana." He said only a section of the beneficiary marginal farmers could not purchase land, as their compensation was adequate only to meet expenses such as constructing houses, getting their wards married and paying the debt.

Besides, the plant would provide indirect employment to a vast population, thus improving their economic condition.

Early hiccups of N-plant
After NPCIL was given green nod to establish N-plant on 1,503-acres of agriculture land by the Centre, the first phase, under which the state government acquired the fertile land, was mired in controversy with farmers taking a warring path.

In July 2010, affected farmers (800 in numbers) formed the 'Kisan Sangharsh Samiti' and took a stand against parting with their land. Three elderly farmers even died of cold during their dharna outside the mini-secretariat.

Their agitation ended after two years, when NPCIL distributed raised land compensation with 33 years of annuity.

The visits of several prominent activists, including AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, Baba Ramdev and Medha Patekar, raised hackles for the state government. The conditions took a tilt in government's favour after a split in the 'sangharsh samiti' at the time of compensation distribution.

Wildlife worst hit
Once the farmers' ended their agitation, animal activists turned up on the scene, claiming that over 188 black bucks had died in and around the plant site from 2010 to 2012 as their habitat was plundered by humans and machines.

The plant site is home to wild animals, including black bucks and blue bulls. "The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, had observed that the land acquired was a natural habitat of wild animals and the project township be moved elsewhere," said Vinod Karwasara, an animal activist.

Plant capacity: 2,800MW (will be completed in four phases of 700 MW each)
Investment: Rs 23,000 crore
Buffer zone: 1km radius of plant
Land acquired: 1,503 acre (with residential colony)
Water needed as coolant: 320 cusecs