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

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