Posts filed under ‘Sindhol project’
A house committee of the state legislative assembly constituted to take stock of the ground realities of the controversial 320 MW Sindol hydro power project has recommended scrapping of the project.
“We have placed our views relating to the Sindol project before the house committee. Our views reflect the views of the people affected by the project. The house committee has recommended scrapping of the project,” said BJD MLA and one of the committee members, Padmanav Behera.
The speaker of the legislative assembly and the committee chairman Pradeep Amat, however, declined to comment on the matter.
“The committee’s decision will be known after we place our report in the assembly,” Amat told reporters after the committee’s meeting.
Prasanna Acharya, minister for health and family welfare, who is also a member of the committee said, “We have communicated the opinion of the project affected people in the meeting. I share the same view on the Sindol project with the people of my region. The Naveen Patnaik government will never go against the public opinion on any project.”
Commenting on the absence of Congress and BJP MLAs, he said, “There is no justification in boycotting the meeting of the house committee. The absence of the Opposition MLAs can only be construed as politically motivated.”
The house committee on the controversial Sindol project was constituted after the assembly witnessed a stormy adjournment session in the monsoon session that ended on August 27.
The Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan had demanded scrapping of the MoU signed with National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) on the project.
The state energy minister Atanu Sabsysachi Nayak had maintained earlier that there was no question of going ahead with the project without the consent of the project affected people.
The Sindol project was to affect 43,461 people belonging to 798 families in 60 villages.
NHPC Ltd (formerly National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) and the Orissa government owned Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) had recently signed an MoU to jointly implement three hydel power projects in the state at an estimated cost of Rs 2,600 crore.
The three hydel power projects- Sindol-I (100 MW), Sindol-II (100 MW) and Sindol-III (120 MW) having a total capacity of 320 MW are expected to be commissioned in 4-5 years. All the three hydel power projects will come up onMahanadiriver.
Following is another report from the Sambad:
Sonepur, Sept. 7: Gobinda Chandra Maharana is 60 years old. For most, the number means it’s time for retirement. But the man from Kantilo in Nayagarh district has floated a rather rare and tireless tale.
He has travelled nearly 300km down the river Mahanadi on nothing but an inflated tyre to spread ripples of awareness about the proposed Sindol project and how it could submerge historical and religious monuments.
With the help of a motor tube, Maharana began his journey from the Somalai ghat of Mahanadi in Sambalpur and reached here on Tuesday morning.
Maharana echoed the sentiment of the local people that the proposed Sindol project would cause a lot of harm to the livelihood and culture of the people of the area.
He said: “The project is not in the best interest of the people of the area. But apart from submerging large stretches of agricultural land, the project will also submerge priceless historical and cultural monuments.”
Maharana said that he had come across many historical monuments and temples along the banks of the Mahanadi during his voyage from Sambalpur to Sonepur. “I came across some rare monuments on the banks of the river during my journey. And I am afraid all these temples and historical monuments will submerge if the Sindol project comes up. A chapter of the culture on the banks of Mahanadi will be lost forever,” he said.
“The government might compensate the displaced people by rehabilitating them elsewhere but what about the monuments that will be submerged, including the leaning temple of Huma? Is there any mechanism to save these monuments? Once the project comes up they will be submerged in the river. No one can save those monuments. People should fight against the project to save these monuments.”
According to Maharana, at least three rare monuments — the leaning temple of Huma, Papakshyaya ghat near Sonepur and the famous Godhaneswar temple — would be submerged by the Sindol project.
Talking about his journey, Maharana said he had not faced any trouble navigating the river that was swelling with heavy rain that has been lashing the state.
“The tube in which I was travelling turned upside down because of the heavy current a few kilometres from Sambalpur, but I took control of it. I only lost my purse, in which I had some money. I am a good swimmer and know how to tackle such situations,” he said.
Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat’s efforts to end the stalemate over the controversial Sindhol Hydro-Power Project issue has run into rough weather with the opposition Congress and the BJP refusing to be part of the House committee formed on a motion tabled by the State Government to conduct public hearing on the proposed project.
The hardening stance of opposition parties has put the Government in a quandary. The Government has no other way but to announce the vexed project be dropped once for all as the ruling party could ill afford to lock its horns with the people prior to the politically significant elections to the three-tier Panchayati Raj bodies.
Under the circumstances, the House committee would become redundant. It is unlikely that the House panel would dare to visit the area without participation of the opposition members. Earlier during discussion on the Sindhol project in the form of an adjournment motion on August 22, the Speaker, realising the sense of the House, had directed the Government chief whip to constitute a House committee on the issue to conduct public hearing and examine the pros and cons of the proposed project. He had also asked the Government to refrain from taking any step for the setting up of the project till the House committee submitted its report.
Accordingly, Government chief whip Rabi Narayan Pani, before the adjournment of the monsoon session of the House on Saturday, had moved a motion on the formation of a nine-member House committee with Speaker PK Amat as chairman.
Besides the three MLAs belonging to the concerned parties, all other members were from the western Odisha region cutting across party lines. The members of the panel included- leader of Oppostioin Bhupinder Singh, Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister Niranjan Pujari, Padmanav Behera and Bhagaban Kahanra from the ruling BJD, Santosh Singh Saluja from Congress and Jayanarayan Mishra from BJP.
Though the motion was adopted by voice vote, the opposition Congress and BJP members had opposed the committee and announced their intention not to be part of it.
Leader of the Opposition Singh and BJP member Jayanarayan Mishra categorically stated that since there was unanimity in the House against the setting up of the Sindhol project during discussion on the adjournment motion, “It is needless to constitute an Assembly committee to conduct public hearing. This is nothing but a dilatory tactics,” they said.
“The MLAs belonging to the proposed project area, who are also ruling party members, had already voiced concern of the people now on agitation and opposed it tooth and nail. They had even warned against any misadventure which might prove costly for the Government.” Singh and Mishra had demanded the Government to announce dropping of the project instantly respecting the opinion of the people and the elected representatives. Singh said the Congress Legislative Party had decided that no member from the party would be member of the committee.
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: Opposition parties in Orissa Assembly today outwitted Biju Janata Dal by refusing to be part of a House Committee that would look into the proposed controversial Sindol hydropower project in western Orissa.
Congress and BJP today made it clear that there was no need to constitute a House Committee as public opinion was clearly against the hydropower project. On the concluding day of the monsoon session on Saturday, it was decided that a committee, headed by Speaker Pradeep Amat, would look into the project and ascertain public opinion on constructing barrages over Mahanadi river in three districts of the state.
The proposal to set up a 320MW power project in Mahanadi river basin (Sindol-I, II, and III), for which the government had inked an MOU with the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) on July 21, had met with stiff resistance from all quarters. Lawyers, students and local people have been observing bandhs in protest against the government’s decision to set up the hydropower plant.
After the Assembly witnessed a stormy debate on the proposed project on August 22, the Speaker had announced that a House Committee would look into the contentious issue.
The committee was to comprise leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh, health minister Prasanna Acharya, food and civil supplies minister Niranajn Pujari, former minister and local MLA Padmanabha Behera, and MLAs Santosh Sigh Saluja and Bhagaban Kanhar.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said: “We have not been consulted prior to the constitution of the committee. As people are opposing the project, there is no need to constitute the House Committee.”
BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra said he had already resigned from the committee. “People have already raised their voice by organising rallies and conducting parleys. There is no need for the committee to visit the spot again to gauge the mood of the public,” Mishra said.
SAMBALPUR: Normal life was hit in western Orissa on Thursday following disruption in train and bus services during a bandh, demanding scrapping of the proposed Sindol hydro power project and setting up of a permanent High Court bench in the region. The bandh call given by the Central Action Committee (CAC) of Western Orissa Bar Association evoked spontaneous response in the districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Deogarh, Sonepur, Boudh besides Sundargarh except Rourkela city. Commercial and business establishments, financial and educational institutions and government offices were closed while buses and private vehicles stayed off the road. However, in view of the ongoing Supplementary HSC examination, students were given safe and free passage and emergency services exempted from the bandh.
In Sambalpur, lawyers under the banner of Sambalpur District Bar Association picketed at Sindurpank, Dhanupali and Ainthapalli paralysing heavy and commercial vehicles’ movement on NHs 53 and 55 besides State Highway 10. The lawyers also forced closure of corporate office of the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and Sambalpur railway division office. The bandh disrupted trains services on the busy Kolkata-Chennai route. The departure of Sambalpur-Puri Intercity Express and the Sambalpur-Rayagada Express was delayed by three hours. The Sambalpur-Rourkela DMU was delayed by two hours. The Rourkela-Bhubaneswar Intercity Express was detained at Sambalpur city station for one hour while Titilagarh-Howrah Ispat Express was detained at Bargarh Road station for an hour. Roads also wore a deserted look in most parts of the region with thin vehicular traffic as buses and private vehicles were off the roads.
In Jharsuguda district, the lawyers picketed in front of the MCL project office in Brajrajnagar bringing the transportation of coal to a halt. National Highway 49 and State Highway 10 were blocked paralysing movement of vehicles. The NH-6 passing through Bargarh was closed for the day.
Offices and courts remained closed in Sundargarh town while the business community responded to the bandh in Bonai, Rajgangpur and Birmitrapur towns. The members of the Rourkela Bar Association resorted to ceasework agitation in support of the bandh call.
However, life in the Steel City and civil township of Rourkela was normal with shops, vehicular traffic and offices functioning as usual.
Following news item is taken from: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110823/jsp/orissa/story_14410006.jsp
Sambalpur, Aug. 22: The Sambalpur district Congress committee today staged a dharna in front of the Sambalpur collector’s office demanding scrapping of the Sindol hydro power project.
“The committee has been opposing the proposed Sindol project since the day the memorandum of understanding was signed. This is an anti-people project. The state government should immediately scrap the MoU,” said Raj Kishore Das, president of the Sambalpur district Congress committee, who had led a protest rally here.
“We will not let the government execute this project. We also oppose any kind of public hearing in this connection. The people of this region have already shown their opposition to the proposed project. The government should withdraw it,” said Das.
“If the government does not scrap the MoU, the Congress will intensify the agitation throughout western Orissa,” he said. Sureswar Mishra, former president of the Sambalpur District Congress committee, said: “The government should right now scrap the MoU signed with the National Hydro Power Corporation for the Sindol project. This project will lead to massive displacement. The government should think of enhancing the water-retaining capacity of the Hirakud dam.”
“Moreover, the government is misleading people by giving false information. It said, 16 villages would be submerged owing to the proposed projects. The contradictory statements are indicating that the government itself is not clear about the number of villages to be submerged,” said Mishra.