Stalemate over Nabinagar power plant continues

PATNA: The stalemate over the construction of 3×660 MW Nabinagar thermal power plant in Aurangabad seems to have no end. The work on the proposed power plant was again stopped on Friday due to differences over land acquisition issue between the farmers and project authorities.

The high-level meeting, attended by the officials of the Nabinagar Power Generating Company Private Limited (NPGCPL), the district administration and representatives of farmers, convened on Thursday to resolve the deadlock in the execution of the project, decided to obtain agreement papers from farmers willing to part with their land for this power project. A deadline of two days has been fixed for the purpose. The agreement papers would be available at the project office at Sonenagar on Sunday and Monday, a NPGCPL official said.

Land acquisition for the plant have caused stalemate from the very first day of the commencement of the project work as the farmers of the region had accused the state government of fixing land prices at much lower rate than the prevailing market value. The famers’ group also accused the government of backtracking from its earlier stand on the matter.

Visthapit Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti (VKMSS) leader Arvind Kumar Singh said, “After the farmers’ protest, a price fixation committee was constituted, comprising the state government officers and the farmers’ representatives, which recommended fresh fixation of land price as the committee found the earlier land rates were not adequate. Based on the committee’s recommendation, land price was fixed afresh at Rs 23.22 lakh per acre taking other factors into account, including one rate for one project, a major irritant in the execution of the project.”

Singh said that the farmers agreed upon this and willingly decided to give their land. Work also re-started at the power plant site on May 9 after a gap of five months. However, he alleged, the government went back on its word as it decided to give farmers Rs 14.61 lakh per acre with condition that in future the farmers would not put any claim on the land. How can the farmers forfeit claim on their land? Singh asked.

Aurangabad ADM Pramod Kumar Bihari, who was present during the meeting, said, “We have asked the farmers willing to sell their lands for the project to sign agreement papers. The government would provide compensation to those farmers also possessing gair khas mazarua (GMK) land on production of land papers.” Notably, compensation for GMK land was a major bone of contention between the farmers and the government as the latter has refused to give compensation for the same on the ground that it was the government land.

The farmers had launched a violent agitation in January during which they had stoned a speeding train and clashed with the police resulting in death of a farmer.

Source – TOI



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