Power plant protest turns violent, dozens injured (Lead)

January 17th, 2011 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, Jan 17 (IANS) At least 25 people were injured and over a hundred detained Monday in Chhattisgarh’s Janjgir-Champa district when police cane-charged a gathering protesting an upcoming thermal power plant.The protestors, who were local farmers, turned violent against a land acquisition bid by KSK Energy Ventures Limited, the company planning to set up the 3,600 megawatt coal-fired KSK Mahanadi Power Project at Nariyara village in Akaltara district, some 170 km from state capital Raipur.

“Police had to cane-charge protestors after they started pelting stones and assembled at the local office of the company. Around 25 persons sustained injuries and some 100 others were taken into custody,” officials at the police headquarters told IANS.

Extra policemen have been deployed at the proposed plant site as police fear more violent protests.

Janjgir-Champa district is located in centre of Chhattisgarh and has state’s prime agriculture double-crop land. The local people are reportedly highly upset with the government decision to allow 33 private power majors to acquire land for setting up coal-based plants.

Activists have been questioning the government’s move to offer prime land to industries in a district where over 70 percent of land has irritation cover.

The Congress slammed the police action against “peaceful protesters” and questioned the decision of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for signing the 33 MoUs in recent months with power majors that will set up about 40,000 MW power plants in Janjgir-Champa district alone.

“It’s a foolish decision, Janjgir-Champa has highly productive farm land and also has access to irrigation facilities. This is a conspiracy by the state government to handover farmers’ prime land to industries,” Dhanendra Sahu, state Congress president told reporters.

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