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Karchana power plant, Uttar Pradesh, India


Karchana power plant project was proposed in 2007 under the then Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Around 2,500 bighas of land was acquired from 2,286 farmers in eight villages. The project was handed over to Jaypee Group in 2009. The project never takes off due to consistent and often violent protests by the farmers over compensation [1].

After the ouster of Mayawati government in 2012, JP Group was reluctant to execute the project. But, officials in the power sector say the reluctance had little to do with the land issue and was mainly due to political uncertainty in the state. The Uttar Pradesh Government has taken initiative to revive the power plant since the state has already made arrangements for coal and water linkages for the project and the developer too has been selected through competitive bidding, efforts should be made by the administration to resume talks with farmers [2] On the other hand in April 2013 Allahabad High Court allowed writ petitions of the farmers and stalled the project. The court order stipulated that farmers who had already taken the compensation should either return the money and take back the land or willingly hand over the land for the project [1].

Recently farmers are showing interest after the recent Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act (2013) passed in Indian Parliament. Farmers have stipulated that their compensation be improved and they be rehabilitated under the Land Bill. This development is in contrast to the earlier stand maintained by farmers, who vehemently opposed to the power plant regardless of any improvement in the compensation [3]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Karchana power plant, Uttar Pradesh, India
State or province:Uttar Pradesh
Location of conflict:Karchana, Allahabad
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional 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
Other industries
Specific commodities:Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Karchana power plant, located in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh is 1980 MW power plant is being developed by JPV subsidiary Sangam Power Generation Company [4] The estimated cost of the project was R10,000-crore project. The project was first mooted by the Mayawati government in 2007 [5]

Project area:833
Level of Investment:1,613,066,203
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:15,000
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited (JPVL) from India
Jaypee Group from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad High Court
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Punravas Kisan Kalyan Sahayata Samiti, Local Villagers constitute Maha Panchyat, a union of villagers

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Local villagers went to the high court. In April 2013, the Allahabad High Court quashed the state government’s notification for the acquisition of 650 hectare of land under the urgency clause for the project and said farmers who had already lifted the compensation for their land should either return the money and take back the land or willingly hand over the land for the project.


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Desertification/Drought, 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-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:The farmers are protesting since 2007. However, farmers are ready to call off their protest if any agreement is reached. This development is in contrast to their earlier stand. As reported earlier, the farmers were in strict opposition to the power plant regardless of any improvement in the compensation offered to them. Farmers are now ready to give up our land for better rehabilitation. Despite the optimism among farmers, it is not clear whether the Rehabilitation and Resettlement act would apply to the project as parts of the land were acquired earlier [1].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Farmers allege that they are being harassed by motivated goons, intermediaries and officials. Farmers are also living in fear for, eight FIRs have been lodged against hundreds of them during the initial protests, which had turned violent. Many letters to the State and the Centre have brought no relief. The poor farmer is made to live in fear that he can be sent to jail any time. According to one farmer, by invoking the same Sections that are used for Maoists, the State is trying to terrorize farmers [1]

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Allahabad farmers ready for talks on Karchana power plant

[2] UP govt plans to revive Karchana power project

[3] Karchana power plant: farmers to take a decision

[4] Karchana Thermal Power Project

[5] Akhilesh revives Jaypee’s 1,320 MW Karchana project

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Government Plays with Power, Dalits Displaced (in Hindi with English subtitles)

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update20/07/2014