VVL's ash-dyke construction hits roadblock over villagers' protest

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 19:41 hrs

The 540-Mw power project of Raipur-based Vandana Vidhyut Limited (VVL) has landed into controversy as villagers had raised protest against company’s proposed ash-dyke construction.

The company is setting up the power plant in Korba district. The state government had allotted about 67 acres of land for the ash-dyke construction while the company purchased about 16 acres directly from the villagers. The construction of dyke had however landed in a big trouble.

“The land was forcefully acquired from the villagers and the company was trying to start the construction work without completing the required formalities,” former deputy speaker of Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha Banwarilal Agrawal said. He is leading the villagers in the protest that has stopped the construction work in the site.

Agrawal said the project area came under the scheduled area and it was mandatory for the authorities to get consent of gram sabha before starting any construction activity. “The villagers had moved to the court of law and hence the administration should ask the company not to start the work till a decision on the issue was delivered in the court,” he added.

A local village Chandrika Kawar said that the land allotted by the government to VVL was reserved for grazing and was in the possession of the villagers for the last 100 years. “Though we have been getting life threat, we are not going to give away our land at any cost,” he added. The villagers’ movement against the company has put the authorities in a fix. For, senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is also the former deputy speaker of Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha, is leading the movement.

Agrawal had sat on dharna at the site with the villagers to stop the construction work.

The development had come as a big jolt for the company that proposes to enhance the project capacity to 1200-Mw. Without the ash-dyke, it would not be possible for the company to start the commercial production in the power plant.

The company however did not respond to an e-mail sent for its version on the issue.

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