The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated Jindal Steel and Power Limited’s (JSPL) coal-powered plant on April 30, 2013.
“I expect this power plant will meet the electricity needs of rural areas that face a shortage of 33 per cent. This is a coal-producing region and the needs of the villagers from around here must be met on priority,” said Mr. Mukherjee, according to The Hindu (see Links), addressing the public after laying the foundation.
The new power plant of JSPL is located at Godda, Jharkhand, and is supposed to provide most of the energy to the company’s 6 MTPA Patratu/Asanboni steel plants . Coal will be partly taken from Jitpur coal block, which is situated 10 kms away from the project site, as well as from Mozambique and Indonesia, while water from the Sunder Dam, Gumani and Jalhara river.
Tha plant relies on the so called Super Critical Technology and will generate 1320 MW. This kind of project is the first of its kind in the Santhal Parghana region of Jharkhand . The estimated cost of the thermal power plant project (2 x 660 MW) is about Rs 8,500 crore. It will take about 42 months to be completed. It is estimated that the project will require about 1,200 acres of land. The company has far, acquired nearly 50 per cent of the land. The company has claimed that they have got 100 per cent consent of the land-owners for further acquisition of land [2, 4].
However, contradictory to the plant proponents’ claim, farmers from 11 villages in the Nimpaniya and Goiarijor blocks said that they are unwilling to give up their land. The villagers were decided that they will protest during the inauguration function by the President of India. So, they had gathered near the venue of the president’ inaugural function. During the gathering, they were detained by the police and kept on the station premises till evening. More than 50 Adivasi farmers, including women, were detained for over six hours .
The place where the plant lies located in the Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand. All land transactions are governed by the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act (SPTA). Most of the land in that area is non-transferable and non-saleable, whether owned by tribals or non-tribals.
The place has a historical legacy of ‘Santhal rebellion’ against the British in 1855 in which 30,000 Santhals died fighting to protect their land. This land in this area is non-transferable and non-saleable. Only land classified as Gair Majurwa Khaas (GMK) or land listed as non-agricultural land owned by the government can be transferred. The rest of the transfers, except those made as gifts to relatives etc. are illegal. It is not possible that a power plant will be built only on GMK land. Despite these norms, officials continue to alienate tribals from land