Gobindpura Thermal Power Plant, Punjab, India

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns">Gobindpura, a small village in Mansa Districts of Punjab has a population of about 2500. About 40 percent of total village population belongs to Scheduled Caste agricultural laborers and Backward Classes. The village has total 1458 Acres of land, out of which 806 Acres have been acquired by the Punjab Government for a private sector thermal power plant. Even out of the rest 652 acres, 140 acres have no canal water irrigation facility. In October 2010, a proposal has been made to establish a 1320 MW thermal power plant by Poena Power Company, a subsidiary of Indiabulls Infrastructure Ltd [1]. Although Punjab Govt has declared that multi-crop yielding lands are not to be acquired, and that no land is to be acquired without farmers consent, this was not the case. The entire land acquired at Gobindpura is irrigated, fertile and multi-crop yielding. More than 90 percent of the farmers are unwilling to give out their lands. This is evident from the stiff resistance offered by the villagers and the necessity to deploy thousands of police-men to crush it. Casting its own land acquisition policy to the winds, the Govt is resorting to forcible land acquisition, brutally repressing all resistance to it. [1] Agriculture is backbone of Punjab. Agriculture plays very essential role in the state. As Punjab is not mine & mineral rich like other states, agriculture is the only asset and it is the pillar of the economy. Farmers at any cost are not ready to sell away the fertile land to the industries [2]. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Gobindpura Thermal Power Plant, Punjab, India</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/india">India</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Punjab </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>VIllage - Gobindpura; District- Mansa</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>MEDIUM regional level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Land acquisition conflicts<br /> Thermal power plants</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a><br /><a href='/commodity/coal'>Coal</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">The 1,320MW power plant in Gobindpura village at Mansa is to be set up by India Bulls, a subsidiary of Poena power. The power plant is proposed to come up on more than 880 acres of land spanning over three villages, and would cost Rs 7,000 crore. Though work has initiated at the 1,980MW Banawala power plant, there is no activity at the proposed power plant in Gidderbaha as well [4]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>326</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>$1,131,706,615 (Rs 7,000 crore)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>2500-3000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2010</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/poena-power-company'>Poena Power Company</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/india'><small>India</small></a><br /><a href='/company/indiabulls-infrastructure-ltd'>Indiabulls Infrastructure Ltd <small>(Formerly known as M/s Sophia Power Company Ltd)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/india'><small>India</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Government of Punjab</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt Punjab [1, ], Nature Human Centric People's Movement (NHCPM) [2]</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Local ejos<br /> Landless peasants<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Strikes<br /> Refusal of compensation<br /> Compensation offered by the authorities was not satisfactory. People have decided to move to the court challenging the compensation given [2]<br /> State Congress members from each district will stage dharna outside administrative headquarters in Mansa every day [3].<br /> </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Proposed (exploration phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Compensation<br /> Deaths<br /> Negotiated alternative solution<br /> Repression<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Under negotiation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>The fact finding Committee of the Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt Punjab has observed that land acquisition at Gobindpura is mired in suspicion & controversies. People have openly complained of cheating, fraud, nepotism, bribery, political black-mail, intimidation & repression, by an unholy combine of Indiabulls, Akali leaders, Civil & police officials etc <br/><br/>Gobindpura power plant has neither yet obtained environmental clearance, nor signed a Power Purchase Agreement with the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. It seems to have been done deliberately, to avoid embarrassing questions about the cost-benefit analysis of the project. <br/><br/>The committee demands that the present process of land acquisition at Gobindpura should be immediately halted as it is illegal, undemocratic and contrary to the policy framework designed by the Govt itself. The acquired land should be returned to their owners.<br/><br/>All the houses and house-sites acquired should be returned to their owners and damage caused to them should be compensated.<br/><br/>Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Poena Power Co. for setting up this project should be cancelled and all new projects should be allowed only through competitive bidding in public sector.<br/><br/>Company should be asked to get the land required for the project from the land owners, through direct negotiations and the Govt should not interfere in this process.<br/><br/>A thorough inquiry be ordered through central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI), in the manner this project was awarded and in the process of land acquisition, and the guilty should be punished.<br/><br/>The people of Gobindpura should be suitably compensated for loss of crops, livelihood, habitat, liberty etc., suffered by them during this period, due to repressive measures adopted by the State.<br/><br/>Appropriate criminal cases be registered against all those police officials who resorted to illegal arrests and detentions, assaults and lathi-charge, caused death of Surjit Singh Hamidi and injuries to many others, damaged vehicles, during the struggle and they should be suitably punished.<br/><br/>All police barricades should be lifted from around village Gobindpura and the liberty and democratic rights of the people be restored [1,5].<br/><br/>Farmers agitating against land acquisition for the Govindpura (Mansa) thermal plant in Punjab have suspended their agitation till September 13, 2011 after talks between them and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Badal has assured the agitating farmers that he will initiate the process to return the land to the owners [6]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>With the acquisition of this land, 62 families of the village have become landless. Another 123 families have been left with very small holdings.<br/><br/>Besides the farmers, families of 14 Dalit agricultural laborers have also been devastated. The houses in which they were living for the last many decades have been acquired by the Govt for this project, rendering them homeless. No compensation has been paid to them on the excuse that the land on which these houses were constructed was not in their name.<br/><br/>Total compensation package ranging from Rs. 23.23 lakhs to Rs.23.77 lakh per acre, including displacement allowances and no litigation incentive etc has been announced, which is very meager. The Govt is paying Rs. 23.77 lakhs per acre for 80 acres, Rs.23.54 lakhs for 560 acres and Rs. 23.23 lakhs for 166 acres to the landowners. <br/><br/>There is no provision for providing employment to the project affected families in the Rehabilitation Policy. In fact the Govt has not announced any Relief & Rehabilitation policy for these people. As already mentioned a considerable section of agriculturists families of the village (about 185) have turned landless or marginal farmers after the acquisition of their lands. They are not able to buy lands in adjoining villages at the rates on which their own lands have been acquired. So they are bound to suffer displacement & loss of livelihood.<br/><br/>About 40 percent of population of the village belongs to Scheduled Caste & Backward Classes. They were mainly dependent upon agricultural labor and allied professions for their livelihood. With the area under cultivation shrinking from 1458 acres to 652 acres, they will also loose livelihood and shall be forced to migrate to other places.<br/><br/>Fourteen families of poor agricultural laborers have lost their houses, without getting any compensation or relief. <br/><br/>There have been corruption & nepotism in awarding this power project, without calling open tenders, to a little known Poena Power Company, a subsidiary of Indiabulls Infrastructure, having very little or no experience in power sector. Various political parties have raised this issue and have demanded CBI Inquiry in the matter. <br/><br/>The process of land acquisition is also suspicious. Varying notifications have been issued at different stages with regard to the land to be acquired, without assigning any reason. [1,5]</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Land Acquisition Policy<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://gmada.gov.in/category/land-owners/land-acquisition-policy/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [3] State Congress slams Akali govt over land acquisition in Govindpura<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/PUN-LUD-state-congress-slams-akali-govt-over-land-acquisition-in-govindpura-2400941.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] A year later, Gobindpura power plant work yet to begin<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/A-year-later-Gobindpura-power-plant-work-yet-to-begin/articleshow/17316551.cms" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] Gobindpura, Punjab: Fact-finding Report on Land Acquisition by Poena Power Company -<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sanhati.com/excerpted/4080/#sthash.BxevM8ef.dpuf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [6] Punjab farmers suspend their agitation against land acquisition<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/punjab-farmers-suspend-their-agitation-against-land-acquisition-129783" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [2] Forcible land acquisition in Punjab; Protestors arrested<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [1] A Fact Finding Report On The Forced Land Acquisition And Repression At Gobindpura, Punjab : By Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.countercurrents.org/dfa220811.htm" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Punjab Land Acquisition: Amarinder Stages Protest In Gobindpura (in Hindi)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wV1WHcNjYk" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Protest and sit in Gobindpura</strong> Source: http://sanhati.com/excerpted/4080/<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/gobindpura.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Swapan Kumar Patra</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>06/05/2014</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>