Monthly Archives: January 2014

Vedal farmers say No to Cheyyur Power Plant

29 January, 2014

More than 200 farmers from Vedal in Cheyyur taluka attended a hearing called for by the District Collector of Kanchipuram on 28 January, and unanimously conveyed their decision against land acquisition of their farmlands for setting up the 4000MW power plant. A similar meeting was held at 3 p.m. for farmers from Chittarkadu, Palaiyur and Thaneer Panthal.

Speaking to cheyyur.wordpress.com over phone, Vedal farmer Mani Mudaliar said the administration was unprepared to answer any of the questions raised by the farmers. Farmers pointed out that the lands originally identified by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for locating the plant did not have any agricultural lands. They alleged fraud in the manner in which the site has been changed to encompass fertile agricultural lands. Highlighting that the company’s environmental clearance itself states that more than 82 percent of the lands to be acquired for the power plant and toxic ash dump are private agricultural lands, the farmers said that the choice of site vitiates the Environment Ministry’s siting guidelines for coal-fired thermal power plants. The original site identified by a site selection team of the CEA pursuant to a visit in October 2006 comprised non-agricultural and non-forest lands spread over Cheyyur and Mudaliarkuppam villages. The current site is located in Vedal, Gangadevanuppam, Chittarkadu and Palaiyur village and is predominantly agricultural, and includes more than 100 acres of waterbodies, and about 40 acres of Reserve Forests.

The farmers also objected that the Government had violated due process by notifying compensation orders without even sending the “award copy” to individual land owners. Some pointed out that the project had been built on a bed of lies including statements to statutory authorities about the absence of waterbodies and migratory birds.

The District Collector said that the matter is in the Madras High Court and several other fora, and that the Government will now await the court order on the matter.

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman: 9444082401. Visit:cheyyur.wordpress.com

Real estate investors push the power plant

The following is an earlier article and pertains to the MARG Swarnabhoomi project in Cheyyur and not the power plant. However, it is suspected that the push for the power plant and the land acquisition, including of additional land may all be related to a concerted real estate push in the region.

Glaring irregularities in 2 SEZ properties

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has, in its latest report, brought to light glaring irregularities in land deals involving SEZ properties in Chengalpattu and Cheyyur in Kancheepuram district.

In both SEZ properties, the CAG audit found that vacant land or land with constructed residential units were “sold” to private individuals under the guise of “lease” thereby helping the developers pocket an undue gain in the form of exemption of stamp duty and registration fees to the tune of Rs. 8.68 crores apart from other benefits such as exemption of VAT, CENVAT, Service Tax, Customs Duty and Income tax.

The CAG report for the year ending March 2012 which was tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday has also recommended to the government to take steps to set right the irregularities that resulted in violation of SEZ rules and to recover the undue benefits passed on to developers/co-developers of these properties.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/glaring-irregularities-in-2-sez-properties/article4718621.ece

64,000MW can be recovered by plugging electricity leaks

18 January, 2013. PUNE — More than 64,000 MW, nearly 30 percent of India’s installed electricity generation capacity of 225000, is lost in inefficiency and leakages, according to Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle. Jayaraman is in Pune as part of the Vasundhara film festival that is being co-organised by Lokayat. Citing Government of India figures, he said that the India’s electricity sector is like a leaky bucket. At the current rate of leakage, the 32000 MW of capacity that is sought to be added through new nuclear power plants in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Fatehabad, Mithi Virdi, Kovvada and Chutka will disappear without a trace. Efficiency improvement measures can realistically save this 64,000 MW at a nominal cost of about Rs. 50 lakhs per MW. In contrast, nuclear power costs about Rs. 25 crores per MW and coal about Rs. 7 crores. Jayaraman, who is a writer from Chennai, questioned why the Government of India is keen on pouring more money into a leaking bucket while a cheaper and quicker option to bridge the deficit is readily available.

The losses referred to above are in the nature of Transmission and Distribution losses, and losses due to inefficiencies in the equipment used at the consumers’ end. According to a study by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Government of India, conservative measures to enhance efficiency of agricultural pumpsets, commercial and domestic lighting, air conditioning and refrigeration and industrial equipment can yield a savings of 19,000 MW.

Agricultural pumpsets, currently being subsidised at Rs. 10,500 crores by the Maharashtra Government, are horribly inefficient and medieval technologies. The Government of India study reports that Maharashtra’s 11 lakh pumpsets account for 17 percent of the state’s total electricity consumption. The pumpsets operate at a pathetically low efficiency of 25 to 35 percent. Improving the efficiency even modestly to 50 percent can yield savings of 1500 million units. Energy efficiency measures in agricultural, commercial, industrial and domestic consumption can easily free up 8000 million units of electricity a year. Further, reducing the State’s transmission and distribution losses from the current 22 percent to 5 percent – which is technically achievable – the state can save more than 12,000 million units. Taken together, efficiency enhancement measures alone can save more than 20,000 million units. That is more than the current deficit faced by the Government of Maharashtra.

Jayaraman said the Governments of Maharashtra and India must first plug the holes in their leaky electricity infrastructure and curb wasteful consumption. He pointed out that 40 crore people in India lacked access to electricity, while electricity was being wasted to illuminate flex banners in prominent city locations like the Nall Junction.

Cabinet gives nod to Reliance Power’s Jharkhand project proposal: report

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Investment has cleared Reliance Power’s Tilaiya ultra-mega power project (UMPP) in Jharkhand, according to sources.

RPower may not have to provide non-forest land to compensate for the loss of forest land acquired for the proposed plant, they said.

They also said the company’s 4,000-MW Tilaiya plant is now expected to be treated on a par with the other public sector projects and therefore would be exempted from providing compensatory afforestation for the loss of forest land.

Read more: http://profit.ndtv.com/news/corporates/article-cabinet-gives-nod-to-reliance-powers-jharkhand-project-proposal-report-377795

District Officials threaten Vilambur Villagers over Cheyyur Power Project

3 January, 2014

Revenue officials threatened land-owners in Vilambur, Cheyyur taluk, with police action for blocking unidentified Hindi-speaking surveyors from entering their farms and orchards with survey equipment. The surveyors have no documents from the Government stating the purpose of the survey or conveying authority for such activities. A team comprising VAO H. Sridhar, Talayari A. Marimuthu and Tahsildar Arumugam threatened to bring the police to facilitate the illegal survey. This development further increases the financial risks and uncertainty over the entire project, and may well render the entire project unviable.Vilambur villagers were objecting to the survey stating that they needed to know all the details regarding the reasons for which the survey was being conducted. In November, a similar attempt by a few Hindi-speaking surveyors was foiled. At that time, the Village Administrative Officer had claimed that he had no idea about land acquisition in Vilambur, and expressed ignorance about the surveyors and their intent. It was only at this time that Vilambur villagers learnt from a Chennai NGO that a stormwater drain, a coal conveyor belt and water intake and effluent pipelines for the 4000MW Cheyyur coal power plant were to pass through their orchards, farm lands and vegetable patches.

Separate Environmental Clearances for the port and the power plant had been obtained after two separate public hearings for the two projects were held. However, no public hearing was held, no EIA prepared and no Environmental Clearance has been obtained for the coal conveyor belt, stormwater drain and water intake/outfall pipelines. As the recent land survey attempts have shown, even the land has not been surveyed.

Similarly, while lands for the power plant and port are being acquired under the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Lands for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997, 43 acres of lands for the coal conveyor belt, the stormwater drain and the water pipelines are not being acquired under this Act. According to project documents, acquisition of lands for these infrastructure will be left to the private company that wins the bid to set up and operate the power plant. As per law, no such survey can take place without the consent of the land owner unless formal acquisition notice is issued under a relevant land acquisition statute, and surveyors authorised to conduct such survey. No such acquisition notice has been issued to Vilambur villagers, and no consent sought.
For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman: 9444082401