Balangir Power Station, Orissa, India


Balangir power station is a 1320 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station proposed by Sahara India Power Corporation. The plant was to be built near the Ghantabahali-Luthurbandh village of Titlagarh, Orissa. Sahara India Power Corporation Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Orissa for the establishment of the plant. The proposed power station was opposed by local villagers since its announcement. According to an October 2011 newspaper report, a company land acquisition agent, was attacked and injured by project opponents in Luthurbandh village [1]. The local villagers along with tribal people took out a padyatra (walk in protest) in these villages [2]. During the ‘bhoomi pooja’ (inauguration ceremony) in April 2011, people disrupted the ceremony. Police had been deployed and Section 144 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been imposed to disrupt to protesting mobs. People mainly opposed the project because of apprehension of thermal power related pollution. Also they were scared about the increasing temperature in the region. It is to be noted here that the Titlagarh region have recorded one of the highest temperature in India during summer. Also, the proposed project will affect the livelihood of the people in that area because the agriculture is the only means of sustenance of the people in that area. The villagers were also not convinced with the company’s promises of job because like other project very few land losers will get job. Also, not many villagers are technically qualified and fit for skilled jobs in the power plant [3]

Basic Data
NameBalangir Power Station, Orissa, India
SiteVillage-Ghantabahali-Luthurbandh; Block-Titilagarh
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsSahara India Power Corporation Limited, the subsidiary of Sahara India Pariwar’s real estate company Sahara Prime City Limited signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Orissa for setting up a 1320 MW (2 x 660) Coal Based Thermal Power Plant in Turla Tehsil of Balangir District, Orissa. The estimated initial investment for the project was about Rs.5604 Cr. The MoU was signed between Government of Orissa and Sahara Power Projects, in the presence of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa.

For the power plant there is a land requirement of about 1,500 acres (607 hectre). The plant was planned to commission its first unit of 660 MW by February 2013. The second unit of 660 MW was expected to be commissioned within 6 to 8 months after the first unit. The plant was planned to be set up through Joint Venture Participation with Power Companies from different parts of the world [3].
Project Area (in hectares)324
Level of Investment (in USD)900,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesSahara India Power Corporation Limited from India - subsidiary of Sahara India Pariwar’s real estate company Sahara Prime City Limited
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Orissa

Orissa Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLocal Villagers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
The local villagers along with tribal people of Luthurbandh, Ghantabahali, MahadaSaguna Munda and Podapadar took out a padyatra (procession) in these villages to protest the upcoming plant[2]
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, 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
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesThey demand the shifting of power plants from this area to save the people’s land and their livelihood. They don’t oppose the setting up power plant. It should not in a fertile area where people are living peacefully and managing their livelihoods through agriculture [2]
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.According to various reports two other power plants are also going to be set up around 20km radius of Titilagarh and Kesinga. These power plants altogether will increase the temperatures in the region. Already the Titilagarh region is famous for its high temperature allover India. Setting up this plant will further worsen the situation and will make the area completely inhabitable. Fly ash generated by the plant will increase air pollution further.

The local people are solely depending on agriculture and they earn their livelihoods by selling agricultural products. If the thermal power plants come up in the area the agricultural activity will be severely affected and many people will lose their livelihoods [2]
Sources and Materials

Critical Stories of Change
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[1] Balangir power station
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[2] Tribal people of Luthurbandh, Ghantabahali, MahadaSaguna Munda and Podapadar protest against Balangir power plant project
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MoU between Sahara India and Government of Orissa
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[3] Orissa’s Balangir district villagers oppose proposed thermal power plant of Sahara Group
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[4] Sahara signs MoU with Orissa government to set a Mega Power Plant
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Media Links

Bolangir Tribal rally
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Kanak TV Video: Locals oppose Sahara thermal power plant at Titilagarh (in Oriya)
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Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update25/08/2014