Raman Singh writes to PM against NTPC

March 25th, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Raipur, March 25 (IANS) Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has written to the prime minister complaining that India’s largest power utility company NTPC had done nothing to provide jobs to the families displaced by its 2,980 MW project in Bilaspur. In his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the chief minister accused the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for not taking not taking any step to provide employment to 3,106 project affected families, including 691 families that lost more than an acre of land.

“It’s most unfortunate that NTPC did not make any serious effort so far for offering jobs to displaced families that has created wide resentment among project oustees,” Raman Singh wrote.

“Affected families are seeking jobs and NTPC did not even provide them training to absorb them. I feel NTPC must provide regular employment to affected families especially to those who gave up more than an acre land,” the letter read.

NTPC is building a 2,980 MW thermal plant with three units of 660 MW each and two units of 500 MW each on a 4,300 acre stretch at Bilaspur’s Sipat area.

NTPC’s Sipat project will be the country’s first project to operate on super-critical boilers, which burn lesser fuel to produce the same quantity of electricity compared to conventional boilers.

Once commissioned, the Sipat project is expected to end the decade-old power crisis in several states, particularly the country’s western region covering Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

NTPC was slated to commission its first 500 MW Sipat unit in October last year and the second one of similar capacity in March-April this year. But a row with the state government regarding water supply has put the commissioning process on hold.

Raman Singh has suggested that NTPC can lay its own 50 km pipeline from project site to Mahanadi river for water rather than depending on the government’s irrigation dams.

He has said that NTPC’s demand for water from the Hasdeo Bango dam for the Sipat plant would deprive 60,000 acres of land of water and would adversely impact on agriculture production.

Raman Singh has requested the prime minister to intervene in solving the issue of employment to displacement families and the water dispute, and accordingly issue directives to the NTPC management.

“Chhattisgarh can ensure water availability to Sipat project from Hasdeo Bango dam only for a temporary period of two-three years and the NTPC should use the time to lay pipeline to Mahanadi river from plant site that can easily feed water to the plant throughout the year,” the chief minister has written.

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