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Home News Power Sector News Even after gestation period Dadri power project remains a non-starter

Even after gestation period Dadri power project remains a non-starter

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ADAGThe much publicised 10,000 mw gas-based Dadri Thermal Power Project of Anil Ambani is nowhere in site even after lapse of its gestation period of three years. But what has made UP to cut a sorry figure is the fact that the project, showcased as a great `power house' with a potential to ease the state's power shortage in one go, has virtually remained a non-starter. This is when the project was awarded with a breathtaking speed to Anil Ambani, also former Samajwadi Party (SP) MP to the Rajya Sabha and a member of the State Development Council headed by SP general secretary Amar Singh from 2003 to 2007.

The site for the project was chosen to be Dadri in Gautam Buddh Nagar, which is located in close proximity to Delhi in the National Capital Region. With a population of around 57,457, Dadri is not only known for its rich alluvial soil of Ganga-Yamuna doab, but also for high 84% literacy rate, which is much higher than the national average of 59.5%.

Its glorious past could be traced back to its proud history of its role in the uprising of 1857 when its Gujjar ruler Rao Umar Dedhar rose against the British rule and fought it bravely by roping in the support of other Gujjar rulers of the area. He was hanged along with four mutineers by the British.

Ambani's project was also in tune with Dadri's profile, as it is already a home to the NTPC's enterprises of 840 mw coal-based power plant and 830 mw gas-fired power plant. Two new units of 490 mw each are also coming up at the same plant. This plant has a switchyard with power handling capacity of more than 5000 mw. Besides, it has India's first biggest HVDC transmission line operating at 500 kv and handling power at 1,500 mw.

While no tenders were invited for the project, the Ambani group was virtually given an upper hand in the agreement. Under it, the state is entitled to only 40% of the power generated from the project whereas state has to bear 60% of the land cost.

The deadline set for its operation was 2008 as per the state support agreement (SSA) signed between the government and the Ambani's power company. It was also supposed to provide cheap power at the rate of Rs 2 per unit to power-starved UP.

For its tall promise, the company was rewarded amply with a huge 2,500 acres of most fertile land. This area is almost equivalent to that of the throbbing Gomti Nagar in the state capital, which accommodates sprawling dream projects of Mayawati and nearly one lakh houses, most of them quite palatial.

The huge chunk of land allocated for the project has always been debated on the floor of the Assembly. As per norms, the project of this magnitude could be set up on about 1000 acres of land.

However, ignoring this, then Mulayam Singh Yadav government pushed the project at a break-neck speed by choosing to acquire the land from farmers under section meant for `urgency' and defined only for the express purpose of public interest. In such a case, the purpose stated to be the commissioning of power project by the company, which never kept its promise.

Under the proceedings, coercive measures were also used in which around 500 FIRs were lodged against farmers. Those resisted acquisition of their land were even put behind bars. The hapless farmers were forced to accept the land compensations and signed a tripartite agreements between farmers, local administration and the company, said Rajpal Tyagi, president of Sahayoga Samiti of Farmers.

Insisting on his demand for cancellation of the project, Tyagi said that the project should be done away with immediately, as it had failed to meet the deadline. He said farmers were agitated and upset over acquisition of their land and would start a stir if denied justice. So far, he said, the farmers were in possession of their land and cultivating it under a Supreme Court order. For further hearing, he said, the apex court had referred the matter to the Allahabad High Court, which had currently reserved its judgment on the issue after a prolonged hearing.

Source - Times of India
 

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