Shutdown in Orissa against power plants

August 9th, 2011 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Aug 9 (IANS) Normal life was affected in two Orissa districts Tuesday with people blocking roads and carrying out marches to protest proposed power plants in the area.

Vehicles went off the road in several places of Sambalpur and Boudh districts due to the daylong shutdown called by Kosal Kranti Dal and Sambalpur Lawyers Association.

Shops, business establishments, schools and colleges were also found closed in leading towns in both the districts, a senior police officer from the region told IANS.

Train services were also affected as protestors squatted on rail tracks at places like Rairakhol and Sambalpur, he said.

The state-run NHPC Ltd last month signed a pact with the state government to set up hydropower plants in Subarnapur (100 MW), Sambalpur (100 MW) and Boudh (120 MW) districts across Mahanadi river in western Orissa.

The government said there will be no displacement due to these projects. It said public hearings will be held in the project area in view of opposition.

However, residents are not buying the arguments.

“The government should scrap the project. Why does the government want to conduct public hearings when the projects are already facing opposition,” P.K. Rath, a protest leader, told IANS.

The hydropower generating company will build the plants in five years’ time in a joint venture with the Orissa state-run Hydro Power Corporation with a combined investment of Rs.2,600 crore to generate 320 MW power.

Protestors said the projects would hit at least 118 villages wholly or partially and would bring untold miseries and devastation to people of the area.

People also fear the plants will submerge several temples, including the world famous Huma Temple in Sambalpur district.

“People had stoutly opposed this project in the past, why is the government pursuing it again and again,” another protestor asked.

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