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Clear apprehensions over private power project: VCK

A.V.Ragunathan
The Hindu
11 September 2007

CUDDALORE: The study team of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) led by D.Ravikumar, MLA, on Monday visited Thiagavalli and Kudikadu Panchayats to ascertain the views of the villagers on the proposed 1320-MW power project to be set up by the Cuddalore Power Company (CPC).

Mr. Ravikumar told The Hindu that the residents of the panchayats, including small and marginal farmers, Scheduled Caste labourers and fishermen, were concerned over the socio-economic and environmental impact of the Rs 6004-crore project.

Their apprehensions ought to be cleared before giving permission for the CPC to start the venture. Since, the government had clamped a virtual ban on the transactions of property, other than to the company, the farmers were compelled to sell the land at Rs 1.31 lakh an acre, which was inclusive of Rs. 81,000 towards land cost and Rs. 50,000 as compensation for the standing crops.

Port expansion

But, for the Cuddalore Port expansion land was acquired near these panchayats at the rate of Rs 4 lakh an acre. The vast difference was not acceptable to the farmers and therefore, they urged the power company to return the 400 acres it had acquired so far to the original owners.

The farm labourers were in the grip of fear as once the lands were taken over, they would be denied the means of livelihood and would be rendered refugees in their places of origin.

The fishermen were a worried lot because the proposal to discharge hot water from the proposed coal-based thermal plant would ruin the marine life as well as their livelihood. There could not be any foolproof mechanism to ensure that the water temperature would not exceed 5 degrees Celsius, the safe level for survival of marine life, as claimed by the company.

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