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Power project will displace 3,000 families, says CPI leader

Special Correspondent
The Hindu, 1 December 2007

No plan to provide them with alternative accommodation and
means of livelihood
Pollution Control Board did not conduct a
proper assessment of environment impact

CUDDALORE: The Communist Party of India has stated that the proposed power project of the Cuddalore Power Company will displace 3,000 families of agricultural labourers and fishermen from the Thiagavalli panchayat comprising over 12 villages.

In a representation given to District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo, CPI district secretary T. Manivasagam alleged that neither the State Government nor the power company seemed to have put in place any plan to provide them with alternative accommodation, means of livelihood and jobs.

For want of the protective measures these families would be rendered refugees in their native places.

The party further stated that the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board did not seem to have done proper assessment of environment impact and the quality of raw materials to be used in power generation.

Mr. Manivasagam noted that the power company had proposed to acquire 1,200 acres and to facilitate this the Government had passed an order banning transactions of property in these villages, other than to the power company. Therefore, the villagers were constrained to dispose of their property at whatever price offered by the power company. Exploiting the situation, the power company was offering lesser price than what was given by certain other private companies setting up their units in the region. The CPI noted that through such deceptive means the Government was colluding with the power company to put up the plant. He urged the Government to withdraw its order so as to restore the democratic rights of the villagers on their property holdings.

He alleged that the official machinery was misused to force the villagers to endorse the project through the pseudo public hearing (held on Wednesday). Mr. Manivasagam said thrusting the project upon the local people without giving due consideration to their socio-economic conditions and environmental concerns ran contrary to democratic practices.

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