The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday stayed a government order allotting land to NCC Power Projects (NCCPPL), a subsidiary of Nagarjuna Construction Co (NCC), at Sompeta in Srikakulam district. The company is expected to file a counter in the next six weeks.
NCC Power is in the process of developing a 2,640 mw coal-based power plant at Sompeta at a cost of R 12,000 crore. Justice Nuti Ramamohan Rao, while suspending the government order issued in September 2008, said no work should be carried out at the project site. Some farmers who lost their land to the power project, approached the high court to quash the order, KS Murthy counsel for the complainants, told the court. When asked, a senior company official refused to comment but said that the company is yet to get a copy of the order. Three persons were killed in police firing when a large group of farmers and fishermen protested against setting up of the 2,640 mw thermal power project by the NCC in July last year. The company faced opposition from about 5,000 villagers and fishermen who disrupted the on-going work. This resulted in a clash between villagers and the police, who said they initially used teargas and lathis to scatter the mob. Following this, the National Environmental Appellate Authority (NEAA) quashed the environmental clearance given to NCC.
The company had acquired 972 acres of land allotted by the Andhra government and 573 acres of land purchased from private owners specifically for the purpose of setting up of the thermal power plant at Sompeta. Incidentally, a four-member Congress team headed by Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao had recently visited Sompeta and Santabommali to make a detailed study of the proposed thermal projects. The team along with leaders of Paryavarana Parirakshana Samithi (PPS) of Sompeta interacted with the people sitting on hunger strike at Sompeta to know their reaction regarding proposed project of Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) and the government’s industrial policy. The farmers demanded the project be stopped and wanted their land, allotted by Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation to NCC, back.