Belpahad, Sep 13
People of 12 panchayats under Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda district affected by the upcoming 4,000 MW super thermal power plant of NTPC at zero point Lara on the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border in Raigad district, have decided to oppose the project during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit on September 19 to inaugurate the plant’s head office at Lara.
Residents of the 12 panchayats took the decision at a meeting held here on Thursday. Resentment ran high among the people as no public hearing was held for the project on this side of the border despite the fact that project would affect 12 panchayats of Odisha. The meeting also decided to lodge a complaint with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the matter.
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 will be affected. But the people of the area have rejected the finding and claim that Kandheikela, Remta, Charpalli, Pithinda, Kanakdora and Badimal in Odisha, located at a distance of half a kilometre from Lara, will be affected by the project. This apart, Jhargaon reserve forest and Hirakud reservoir will also be affected. They have expressed dismay at the Odisha government’s silence on the issue.
Environment Protection Act, 2006 says in case of any project coming up on an inter-state border, approval of both states involved is mandatory. But in clear violation of the Act, the Chhattisgarh government had inked a MoU with NTPC on July 12, 2009. None of the villagers had taken part at the public hearing held on November 23, 2011.
In complete violation of law of the land, Chhattisgarh has also permitted JSW for setting up of another 1320 MW thermal power station at zero point Kukurda on the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border, which would affect six panchayats in Odisha. No steps have been by the government despite residents informing the district administration.