Citing land acquisition hurdles as the reason, Reliance Power now wants to scrap its ambitious 4,000-megawatt (MW) power project in Shahpur-Dherand in Raigad district. In its letter, the company has requested the state government to refund the Rs44-crore deposit given for land acquisition so that it could restore the acquired land.
On the other hand, in a letter dated August 3, 2011, Raigad district collector had recommended that the state scrap the process of acquiring 2,500 acres of land for the project as the company hasn’t shown any interest in offering compensation to farmers at competitive rates.
Dismissing the collector’s charge, a company spokesperson said, “Reliance Power has been developing the Shahpur Project in Maharashtra pursuant to a memorandum of understanding [agreement] signed with the state in 2005. The MoU expired in 2009. Also, the deadline for the land acquisition process being undertaken by the district administration under the land acquisition act has expired [in 2010]. During this period, the company has undertaken projects at various other locations such as Butibori in Maharashtra.”
Confirming the development, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat said the decision on the project would be taken in three weeks. Meanwhile, the state will be filing its say on the plea by the affected farmers in the Bombay high court (HC) in three weeks.
In its letter, the collector had stated that Tata Power promised good price in return of the land to the farmers last year. The farmers whose land was to be acquired by the Reliance Power and its subsidiary Maharashtra Energy Generation too demanded similar compensation, which the company agreed upon.
However, Reliance did not keep its promise despite the farmers’ willingness to give up their land without protest, the collector told the principal secretary (revenue and forests).
Reliance Power, however, said that the government did not finalise the acquisition of 2,000 acres of land in the mandatory two-year period and didn’t convert the green zone to industrial zone. Owing to the delay, the company could acquire only 500 acres of land despite the clearances.