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Katni Power Station, Madhya Pradesh, India


Welspun Energy Madhya Pradesh Limiteds (WEMPL) has proposed to set up a Greenfield thermal power plant of 1980 MW (3X660MW) capacity at Bujbuja in Barhi tehsil of Katni district. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between WEMPL and the state government on November 24, 2009. The government had initially agreed to earmark 1,900-2,000 acre land for the project but finally gave nearly 1,400 acre land out of which 800 acre is government land, while nearly 500-600 acre is private land that the company has to acquire from farmers. Nearly 350 farmers were losing their fertile land and therefore opposing it tooth and nail. The farmers in affected villages have warned that they would immolate themselves if any attempt is made to forcibly remove them from their land. [1] Farmers sit every day on funeral pyres, with kerosene and match sticks at arms reach. This is a relay protest against acquisition of land by the government for a thermal power plant in the area. A woman called Sunia Bai, allegedly set herself on fire after she was threatened by the authorities to give up her land. The rest of the protestors say they will do the same. They say the government acquired the plots for the 2000 MW project, against their will [2]

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Katni Power Station, Madhya Pradesh, India
State or province:Madhya Pradesh
Location of conflict:Village- Bujbuja; Tehsil- Barhi; District- Katni
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other industries
Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The proposed plant located at Bujbuja village in Katni District has the following specification: MW (3X360 MW) capacity in three implementation state of 660 capacity each Area required for project facilities include power plant, railway line and colony of 1200 acre (485.6 hectare) Total water requirement of 5816 m3/hr will be available from Bansagar dam Estimated cost of the project will be 7360 crores Coal requirement will be 11.1 MTPA will be met from SECL/NCL through dedicated wailway siding [4]

Project area:566
Level of Investment for the conflictive project1,185,980,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:5000
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Welspun Energy Madhya Pradesh Limited (WEMPL) from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Madhya Pradesh State Janata Dal United (JDU): the party has advocated in favour of the farmers.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:All farmers of Bujbuja and Dokaria villages
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
The farmers in affected villages have warned that they would immolate themselves if any attempt is made to forcibly remove them from their land. They sit every day on funeral pyres, with kerosene and match sticks at arms reach. This is a relay protest against acquisition of land by the government for a thermal power plant in the area [1, 2] The Madhya Pradesh police resorted to lathicharge on over 100 people from Bujbuja and Dokaria villages in Katni district who were protesting against acquisition of land. The police also arrested 12 villagers along with a former Janata Dal (United) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). They staged protest after a woman identified as Sunia Bai allegedly set herself on fire by pouring kerosene over the issue. She was rushed to the hospital where she died a day later. They placed the body of the woman, handed over to them by police after post-mortem, on the road. District Collector ordered a probe to find out the reason behind Sunia Bais suicide. The farmers in the two villages have also set funeral pyres on their land and warned the administration that they would immolate themselves if their land is forcibly acquired. Police lathicharged the protesters without warning and forced the family members to conduct the funeral. [5].
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, 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, Mine tailing spills
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:The protesters were demanding that the land acquired for the project so far should be returned to the farmers and also sought transfer of a tehsildar and the police station in-charge of the area for allegedly taking coercive steps to curb the agitation [5]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Protestors said that they will not give up their land to the government. The compensation money wont last and the land is their regular source of income. [2] They are sitting on Chita Satyagraha in some villages here against land acquisition have said they would not give up their land, like the way their counterparts did in Singur, West Bengal [3].
The environment impact assessment report by Wellspun, describes the entire Bujbuja and Dokaria belt as barren and agriculturally non- productive single crop land. This, is a lie as the site hugs acres and acres of lush paddy fields. The families of 200 farmers own 400 acres of land which Wellspun wants to acquire. Having failed to persuade the farmers, they have resorted to pressure and blackmailing in connivance with administration [6]
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

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Land acquisition and rehabilitation act (2013)
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ACT , 2013 –

[1] Power plant land acquisition: Farmers set up protest pyres
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[2] Madhya Pradesh land row: Farmers sit on pyres, threaten mass suicide
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[3] MP protestors dont want it to become Singur-like situation
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[4] Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the Proposed 1980 MW (3X660 MW) Thermal Power Plant at Bujbuja Village, Katni District Madhya Pradesh
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[5] Katni: Protests intensify against proposed power project, police resort to lathicharge
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[6] Katni power project hits a roadblock as protest intensifies
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Welspun Energy Madhya Pradesh Ltd., Katni, Madhya Pradesh
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MP: woman commits suicide to protest against land acquisition for power plant
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Madhya Pradesh farmers set up funeral pyres to protest land acquisition for power plant
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Katni power station
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Farmers sit with kerosene on pyres protesting land acquisition in Madhya Pradesh
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Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:980
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