Andhra Pradesh government has allotted 972 acres of land that includes wetlands to Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) in order to build a coal-based thermal power plant. NCC has privately acquired over 500 acres in addition to the land provided by the government for their project.
Community members, especially fishermen and farmers, were extremely opposed to the construction since it would destroy their entire livelihoods. The proposed construction site was on an expanse of wetlands and the villagers of Sompeta used this land to sustain their fisheries and farmlands.
The residents of Sompeta, Baruva and other neighboring mandals in the district have been fighting against the thermal power plant since 2009. The agitation started with relay hunger strikes by fishermen starting December 5, 2009.
In July of 2010, more than 3,000 community members stood up and fought plans to sacrifice their land, their water, their air and ultimately their livelihoods for a NCC coal plant. Their protest was met with brutal repression, including the deaths of three community members. This valiant struggle galvanized public opinion and ground the project to a halt.
Some farmers who lost their land to the Nagarjuna Construction Company Sompeta Thermal Plant approached the High Court to challenge the Government Order for the plant. In June 2010, the petitioners highlighted a communication from the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA) issuing instructions (No. B2/2225/2003) to all district collectors ordering them "to protect water bodies on war-footing basis under Neeru Meeru Programe and to identify and include all lands covered by water bodies," which petitioners say the plant violates. The petitioners also contend that the land allotted to NCC for thermal power project is a precious wet land on which local people are dependent.
In June 2011, a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice NR Rao issued an interim order suspending a government order (GO) allotting land to NCC. Justice Nuti Ramamohan Rao, while staying the GO, ordered that no work be carried out at the project site.
Update: "In late August 2015 the State Government cancelled the land allocation for the power station and directed that the company only use it for agricultural projects. In October 2015 the state government conceded to the protestors’ demands and assured only eco-friendly projects in the ‘Beela’ area. The cancellation follows an eight-year-long campaign – including an almost six-year-long relay hunger strike - by a coalition of fisherfolk, villagers and environmentalists against the plant."