Belpahar (Jharsuguda), Aug 20
After Polavaram, Odisha is now at the rough end of another project on the bordering area of a neighbouring state: the 4, 000 MW super thermal power plant being set up at Laragaon in Chhattisgarh by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
As if that was not enough, New Delhi-based Mantec Consultants Pvt Ltd is setting up another power plant in the same area, which would have serious implications on the environment and livelihoods on this side of the border.
While agricultural lands in 29 villages on the Odisha side would bear the brunt of effluents released into local water sources, local fishermen fear losing their livelihood as the plant would draw water from the upper catchment areas of Hirakud dam.
Even as work on the NTPC project is going apace on a war footing, residents of 12 panchayats are intrigued by the deafening silence of the Odisha government in the matter.
Despite an EIC notification of 2006, which requires the consent of both states when a project comes up in the bordering area of a state, the project authorities have not bothered to hold any public hearing on this side of the border.
The Chhattisgarh government and NTPC had conducted a public hearing at Laragaon village in December, 2011 after signing the MoU in September, 2009.
More worryingly for the people of the area, there has been no response from the Odisha government till date though the Chhattisgarh government has taken eight long years to complete the survey and land acquisition process for the proposed thermal plant.