Proposed Sindhol hydro-electric projects opposed in western Odisha

July 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Following report is from The Pioneer:

SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR

The decision of the State Government to construct the three-stage Sindhol hydro-electric project downstream of the Hirakud river to generate 320 mw of power, has evoked strong reaction among the common people, political parties, social organisation in the whole of western Odisha including Balangir, Sonepur, Boudh and Sambalpur.

Forming a joint company between the Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) and the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) an MoU was signed by the Government of Odisha, the OHPC and the NHPC in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday in Bhubaneswar.

A total of Rs 3000 crore would be invested for implementation of the first phase of Sindhol-I, Sindhol-II and Sindhol-III with an installed capacity of 320 MW.

The project envisages construction of a barrage on the Mahanadi to utilise the surplus water of the Hirakud reservoir for production of electricity. In the first phase, implementation of the Unit-I project will be accelerated. The barrage is 40 km away from village Deogaon and 90 km from Chipilima. The second unit is 30 km from village Kapasira and the third barrage will be at Godhaneswar, 40 km away.

The joint venture company will set up the project Sindhol-1(100MW) in Sambalpur Sindhol-II in Sonepur and Sindhol-III in Boudh district on the downstream of Mahanadi.

“The project will displace large number of people in the entire Kosalanchal region. In the past, people of this region rose in stiff opposition to the Manibhadra dam project which had to be shelved. This time also, people will oppose the Sindhol projects tooth and nail,” said Kohal Kranti Dal president Promod mihsra.

General secretary of the regional outfit’s Yuva Morcha Priyabata Sahu pointed out: “If the project is executed, it would submerge large areas of Birmahajpur and Sonepur in the Subarnapur district. According to a preliminary survey, in 1990, it would submerge 118 villages and 37,000 hectares of total land including reserve forests, village forests and residential areas in Sambalpur, Sonepur, Boudh and other parts in western Odisha.”

Similar reactions have come forth from Boudh too. “At least 30 villages under 8 gram panchayats of Kantamal constituency in Boudh district are going to be submerged besides large tracts of land including historical monuments,” said Congress leader Kanhei Dang. He expressed concern over the inevitable situation.

In Samablpur, the MoU also evoked sharp reactions among the people. The claim of the Government that there would be no displacement of people in the project areas is nothing but an eyewash, people say.

Meanwhile, former MP Bhavani Hota addressing mediapersons on Friday in Sambalpur observed that the Sindhol hydro power project is nothing new. Earlier it was known as stage III of Hirakud Dam. When the Government tried to construct a dam at Tikarpada and Manibhadra over the Mahanadi, it had to be shelved due to opposition from the entire western Odisha. The claim of generation of 320 mw power is also questionable, Hota said.

Former Balangir MP Balgopal Mishra said, “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is in the habit of neglecting and betraying the people of western Odisha. In 2003 he had assured that there would be no further construction over the Mahanadi. But by signing the agreement with NHPC and OHPC hurriedly without taking the people of this region into confidence, it proves that he has again betrayed the people of this western region.” Mishra called upon the people to resist this arbitrary and anti-people decision of the Government.

Even though the Government is going to construct the power projects at Degaon, Kapasira and at Godhaneshwar, the height of the dams has not been mentioned. The Government should clarify the position, said Rajnan Panda of Water Initiative Odisha (WIO).

WIO demanded total public consultation in the concerned areas before execution of the projects. Rather than going for big power projects, Government should go for other measures to provide assured irrigation to farmers from micro irrigation and other methods, Panda advised.

Meanwhile the All Koshal Students Union, in an emergency meeting here, threatened to launch an agitation demanding scrapping of this project, as they perceive this project as anti-people which would bring more disaster in practical terms to the people of this area than any development.

Here is another report from express buzz: Sindol project opens old wounds

BHUBANESWAR: The decision of the State Government to go ahead with the Sindol project has sparked strong protest from the Opposition political parties and people of Sambalpur, Boudh and Phulbani districts as it would submerge a large tract of land.

 This has also opened a very old issue with a potential for a long drawn-out agitation against the State Government having support cutting across party lines. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik won the Rairakhol byelection in 2003 by making an issue of it. Now, he has made a volte-face by allowing the project, former minister and senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said.

 The State BJP unit also adopted a resolution in its just-concluded State Executive against the proposed project.  Though the Sindol project has been in discussion for the last 20 years, in the recent past the matter was raised during the campaign for the Rairakhol Assembly byelection in 2003.  Naveen and other BJD leaders had then maintained that the project was not under consideration anymore.

 But soon after winning the bypoll, the State Government again started the process for setting up the project.  The then BJD MLA from Rairakhol Sanatan Bisi had opposed it and even written a letter to then Energy minister Surjya Narayan Patro. Sources said Patro had also assured that there was no proposal to go ahead with the project. Even no detailed project report has been prepared so far.   Along with Hirakud Dam, there was a proposal to build a dam at Tikarpada on theMahanadiand a barrage at Naraj to control flood.  However, Tikarpada dam would have submerged Sonepur and Boudh towns and hence it never saw the light of the day. The Naraj barrage was constructed.

 During the ‘80s, proposal for Manibhadra dam was floated. The State Government again tried to revive the Sindol project in the name of Hirakud Stage-III. But the proposal never took a concrete shape due to strong opposition from the locals.

 According to available estimates, the project is likely to submerge more than 118 villages, including 30,000 acres of fertile agriculture land, reserved forests and homestead land.

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Entry filed under: Boudh, Industries and mineral resources, Infrastructure, Region watch, Renewable energy, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Water Resources.

Responses to the article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik published in the ‘Sambad’ on 22nd July 2011 (Part I) After sixty-five years Hirakud land oustees to get land pattas

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