Rajpura Thermal Power Project, Punjab, India


Rajpura Thermal Power Project (Nalash) is a 1400 megawatt (2x700 MW) coal-fired power plant located at Nalas in Punjab. The first unit of the 700 MW super-critical (2x700 MW) Rajpura thermal power plant at Nalash village in Patiala district became operational in December 2013. The plant was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The next unit (700 MW) of the plant would come up by March 2014 [1].

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Basic Data
NameRajpura Thermal Power Project, Punjab, India
SiteVillage- Nalas; Rajpura; District- Patiala
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe plant is the first major coal-fired power plant to be owned and operated by L&T through a Special Purpose Vehicle - Nabha Power Limited. Nabha Power Limited (NPL), was established as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) by erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to develop the Rajpura Thermal Power Project at a site near village Nalash , Distt Patiala, Punjab. An RfQ/RfP was floated by PSEB in line with the Case 2 competitive bidding guidelines, Govt of India (GoI) and L&T Power Development Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of L&T) was identified as the lowest bidder. NPL has signed Power Purchase Agreement on 18th January, 2010 with PSEB and the NPL was also transferred to L&T Power Development Limited as its wholly owned subsidiary on 18th January, 2010. Further, NPL has signed MOU with Govt. of Punjab for enhancing the capacity of the present plant by establishing an expansion unit of 1x700 MW adjacent to the current plant location [4]
Project Area (in hectares)436
Level of Investment (in USD)$1,547,613,785 (Rs 9,600)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population5000
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesNabha Power Limited from India
Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Punjab
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAgitation committee formed by local villager against the power plants, Unemployed youths of nearby villages
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, 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
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesGovernment has given Rs 1.5 crore per acre for construction of airport near Mohali, in Punjab. Villagers are asking for the same amount of compensation [2]

Prostestors also demand employment for maximum number of people from surrounding villages [5]
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.While acquiring their 1,078 acres of fertile land, had promised to employ maximum number of people from surrounding villages, but now most of labourers and other employees have been hired from outside the state. During the construction work local villagers did not get jobs despite promise. The government forcefully purchased their land at a very low price and most of the farmers were unhappy. The government had made promises to make their lives better, but their demands are not met. Also the heavy machinery plying on the village road has damaged the path and made the village roads inaccessible. [3]

Nabha Power Limited, the company that is constructing the thermal plant, said that they had employed around 100 villagers, including unskilled labourers. They also are going to recruit more people from these villages. They also promised that the demands will be sorted out soon [3].
Sources and Materials

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
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[1] First unit of Rajpura thermal plant becomes operational
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[2] Punjab farmers protest land acquisition for thermal plant
[click to view]

[3] Unemployed youth demand jobs at Rajpura Thermal Plant Their land was acquired to set-up the plant and were promised jobs
[click to view]

[4] About NPL
[click to view]

[5] Rajpura Thermal Power Project
[click to view]

Small farmers big losers in stateÂ’s land acquisition story
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Article in Hindi about farmers' protests
[click to view]

L&T to sell thermal power plant in Rajpura
[click to view]

Punjab Cabinet clears 1,320-mw Rajpura thermal power project
[click to view]

Farmers demand money for development
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update22/05/2014