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Solapur farmers stage protests at NTPC plant site, demand higher compensation

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on April 23, 2015

Face-off If NTPC gives in to the demands, then the outgo will be about ₹300 to ₹500 crore, which will increase tariff for end users.

Company holds meeting with stakeholders; says demands are against the policies

The farmers’ agitation in New Delhi seems to have set off a chain reaction of sorts. In Solapur district of southern Maharashtra, farmers and land owners are demanding higher compensation from NTPC for their lands, which has been acquired for a 1,320-MW thermal power plant.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the agitation very seriously. On Wednesday, he spoke with the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Swadheen Kshatriya, via a video link.

He reviewed the progress of the plant and various hurdles the under-construction plant has been facing.

A senior Maharashtra government official told BusinessLine that since April 17, the plant site at Fatatewadi village near Solapur city was sieged with hundreds of protestor demanding additional compensation.

Police deployed

On Tuesday the district administration had to invoke Section 144 (preventing unlawful assembly) of the IPC to reign in the agitators. A platoon of 150 police personnel were also deployed for protection.

The site spread over 2,000 acres has been declared as a prohibited area under the Official Secrets Acts for preventing agitators from entering.

The official added that if NTPC gives in to demands, then the outgo will be about ₹300 to ₹500 crore, which will increase tariff for end users.

The total project cost runs to about ₹9,500 crore. Work is underway for setting up two units of 660 MW each. They are based on super-critical technology, to reduce carbon emissions by 5-10 per cent.

The project was initiated by former power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. But ever since NTPC started acquiring the land in 2009, they have had to face opposition from locals.

District Collector of Solapur, Tukaram Mundhe, said that the compensation package provided by NTPC was with the consent of farmers.

All funds including ex-gratia have already been distributed. Now they are asking for additional compensation, which is illegal.

The land parcels were acquired under consent award, but now farmers and land holders are saying that the package needs to be revised on their terms and conditions, he said.

‘Demands illegal’

NTPC in an e-mailed statement said that a meeting was held in Mumbai with all stakeholders including villagers, wherein it was clearly informed that demand for additional compensation is not legal and against the policies. Still not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, a few villagers started a Dharna outside the plant premises.

In case additional compensation is insisted, then it could be in line with the provisions of other NTPC plants in Maharashtra, the statement added.

Published on April 23, 2015
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