Protests against Orissa hydropower projects intensify

August 25th, 2011 - 12:07 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Aug 24 (IANS) Protests against three hydro power plants Orissa plans across river Mahanadi intensified with thousands of people Wednesday staging a massive demonstration at district headquarters town of Sambalpur, an organiser of the protesters said.

Carrying posters and banners and shouting slogans against the state government, people from all walks of life including hundreds of women and children took out a procession, conducted a public hearing of their own and rejected the government plan.

The people who came from three districts of Sambalpur, Boudh and Subarnapur also vowed to fight if the government pushes the projects forcibly.

Orissa state-run Hydro Power Corporation last month signed a pact with NHPC Ltd to set up the hydropower plants in a joint venture across river Mahanadi, in the three districts. The plants would be built in five years’ time with a combined investment of Rs.2,600 crore to generate 320 MW power.

State Energy Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said the projects would be set up only after the consent of the local people.

However, those opposed said the projects will not only cause large scale displacements but also apprehended the reservoirs were planned to centralise storage of river water for supply to upcoming industries in the region.

“The government has not disclosed the plans in detail. It is pushing the projects without making a comprehensive analysis of state’s water and energy scenario”, Ranjan Panda, convenor of Water Initiatives Orissa - a network of NGOs fighting on water related issues, told IANS.

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