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Sompeta Coal Power Plant, AP, India

The inspiring story of the anti-coal village in India and villagers defeating the logic that coal is a necessity to power their homes.


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.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sompeta Coal Power Plant, AP, India
State or province:Andhra Pradesh
Location of conflict:Sompeta/ Srikakulam district
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 commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

2,640 mw coal-based power plant

Level of Investment:Around 1,900,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:About 30 villages. Around 150000 people
Start of the conflict:2008
Company names or state enterprises:Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) from India
Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) from India
Relevant government actors:Andhra Pradesh High Court
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Paryavarana Parikakshana Samithi (PPS)
National Environmental Appellate Authority (NEAA)
National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsHealth problems related to ash coming out of the thermal power plant
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsSkin rash
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Project temporarily suspended
As a result of the conflict between the police and the villagers, 3 people died. The two agitators killed in the police firing at Baruva near here were identified as G. Krishnamurthy of Lakkavaram village and Bandi Joga Rao of Palasapuram.
Development of alternatives:According to India Beyond Coal, "Defeating the logic that coal is a necessity to power their homes, solar energy has come as a boon to the villagers. 160 families have adopted solar and after witnessing a dramatic drop in they are targeting 2000 families in the coming few months. With banks offering loans and small subsidies from the state Government, locals are adopting solar energy at a remarkable pace."
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:GO no 1107 based on which the land was allotted to NCC for building a power plant is close to being canceled. 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. 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.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Sierra Club article
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Sierra Club article
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Down to earth org article
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Greenpeace article
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Sourcewatch article
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[1] India Beyond Coal - An inspirational story worth sharing
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[2] Source Watch on Sompeta Power Plant
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Thermal Power news
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

owner: Justin Guay
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India's Coal Rush
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Meta information
Contributor:Walls and the Tiger documentary team (directed by Sushma Kallam)
Last update13/06/2019
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