Jharsuguda, Sep 17:
Protesting the proposed mega thermal power plant by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) at Lara along Odisha-Chhattisgarh border, the members of the Sarpanch Association of 13 panchayats of Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda district have submitted a memorandum to chief minister Naveen Patnaik seeking his immediate intervention.
The demand of the Association has come three days ahead of the visit of prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Chhattisgarh. Originally scheduled to inaugurate the office building of the project at Llara on that day, the prime minister, however, would address the people affected by the project on the Chhattisgarh side via video conferencing from Bilaspur. His visit was cancelled due to security reasons, official sources said.
Despite the cancellation, however, the Sarpanch Association has decided to press ahead with its proposed dharna near the proposed plant site area on that day.
A delegation of sarpanchs of 13 panchayats, led by Sanjit Pradhan, president of Lakhanpur Panchayat Sangh, met district collector Tapas Kumar at his residential office here on Monday and submitted a memorandum addressed to the chief minister.
The memorandum has sought a joint public hearing by the NTPC and the Chhattisgarh government in Odisha as per the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006, and a fresh survey in the 13 panchayats of Jharsuguda district that would be affected if the proposed plant comes up.
The Association also demanded a written assurance from the district administration, failing which it would hold a massive dharna at Kanaktura, near the proposed plant site on September 19.
While assuring the members that public hearing would be conducted in the area, the collector, however, said it would not be possible to do this immediately.
Prior to this, the Lakhanpur Anchalika Suraksha Samiti had also submitted a memorandum with similar demands to the chief minister.
It is worthwhile here to mention that the Montech Consultancy Private Limited, which had prepared the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report in 2006, had said in its report that areas within the 10-kilometre ‘buffer zone’ of the project, which includes parts of Lakhanpur block, will be affected.