Sindhol project now in suspended animation: The Pioneer

August 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Following report is from http://www.dailypioneer.com/362740/Sindhol-project-now-in-suspended-animation.html:

The controversial Sindhol hydropower project has been now put in suspended animation. Finally, the Speaker of the State Assembly directed the Government on Monday not to go ahead with the project and announced formation of a House Committee to go into the gamut of related issues including undertaking a public hearing.

“I feel that there is the need for taking public opinion on the proposed Sindhol project area and the House Committee is the only available forum through which the opinion of the local people can be examined,” ruled Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat after conclusion of a marathon over three hour discussion on the admissibility of adjournment motion relating to Sindhol issue.

Though Energy Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak assured the House that public hearing would taken up in and around the three stages of the Sindhol project and there was no question of setting up of the three-stage Sindhol power project without the consent of the people of the area, in the absence of any modalities, the Speaker took the cudgels.

Announcing the formation of the House panel, the Speaker directed Government Chief Whip Rabi Narayan Pani to bring an official motion to this effect before the monsoon session of the Assembly adjourned sine-die.

“The Government should not take any initiative to go ahead with the (Sindhol) project till the submission of the report by the House Committee,” he asked.

Accepting the ruling of the Speaker, Parliament Affairs Minister Raghunath Mohanty assured that the Government Chief Whip would bring a motion for formation of house panel before the adjournment of the monsoon session. He also set one month’s time for the House Committee to submit its report to the Assembly.

Earlier, cutting across party lines, members expressed concern over the decision of the State Government to set up the Sindhol project and signing of MoU to this effect in a hasty and secretive manner. The project should be stopped forever as it involves displacement and submergence of large areas of cropland, they said and demanded for constitution of a House Committee on the issue.

Participating in the discussion, the Congress member Nabakishore Das, Prasad Harichandan, Leader of Opposition, Bhupinder Singh, Santosh Singh Saluja, Nihar Ranjan Mahananda urged the Speaker to bring a resolution in the House to drop the Sindhol project or to constitute a House Committee to give its view.

They alleged that the three stages of Sindhol project was taken up to provide water to industries particularly Bhushan and Jindal They wanted to know when Government had signed MoU with 32 companies including IPPs for generation of around 36,000 MW thermal power why secretively it wanted to go ahead with the project for paltry 320 MW of hydel power by creating displacement and submergence of large areas. Even they said why the detailed project report and the technical feasibility report was not prepared prior to the MoU.

Demanding the cancellation of the MoU the Opposition pointed out that the project would hasten the ignominious mental division and regional imbalance and urged the Government to refrain from the contentious Sindhol.

BJP member Jayanarayan Mishra lamented that while families displaced due to the Hirakud multipurpose project were still not rehabilitated properly and provided compensation, why was the Government hell bent in taking up the Sindhol project that would cause large-scale displacement. Due to the project large areas belonging to Bargarh, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Boudh districts would be affected. He urged the Government not to press for the project to avoid division of the State.

Treasury Bench members belonging to the area also slammed their Government in a bid to survive the ire of the people as part of political compulsion, in not taking them into confidence before taking up Sindhol project now in suspended animation the age old controversial project. ” Drop the project if the people of the area are opposing fear of displacement and submergence’, said Padmanav Behera and Bhagaban Kuanhar . Since the Government did not undertake any survey and make the people aware of pros and cons of the project prior to the signing of the deal, apprehension of the people has taken the centre stage, they said.

BJD member Rajanikanta Singh and Naveen Nanda of NCP, an ally of the BJD also sought for constitution of House Committee to examine the issue.

The Opposition Congress and the BJP said that the there was no need of undertake any further public hearing on the future of the project as the elected representatives of the area (MLAs) had already categorically stated in the House that they were against the power project. Taking the mood of the House, the Minister instead of elaborating his reply should announce to annihilate the project for the interest of the people and to help stop the ongoing agitation that has triggered large scale protest. As the Minister did not oblige the Opposition, both the Congress and BJP walked out of the House expressing their dissatisfaction.

The Energy Minister replying to the discussion on the adjournment motion clarified that first the Government would undertake “public hearing” and then taking the consensus view of the local people , the fate of the project would be decided. ” There is no cause of apprehension as Government is committed to protect the interest of the people”, he assured.

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Entry filed under: Agriculture, Agriculture and Irrigation, Boudh, Region watch, Sambalpur, Sindhol project, Subarnapur.

Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) is in a mess: Congress Sindol fate tied to people: The Telegraph

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