Work on GMR’s Chhattisgarh project to begin by September

January 29th, 2009 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Jan 29 (IANS) GMR Energy will begin construction work on its ambitious, albeit contentious, 1,200 MW Chhattisgarh power project by September, a top company official said Thursday.”The company will begin construction work by September and we are confident about completing the land acquisition within three-four months,” GMR Energy chief executive Raaj Kumar told newsmen here.

“We need some 550 acres for the main plant area, 230 acres for a green belt and 120 acres for a township,” he said, adding: “It will be a smooth land takeover.”

The Bangalore-headquartered company signed a deal with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2007 to set up a Rs.55-billion coal-based power plant at Raikheda village in Raipur district, some 35 km from here.

The company wants to commission the project by 2012-13, with 35 percent power production to be reserved for the home state, Chhattisgarh.

Kumar said some 60 percent of the project area belong to villagers, adding that the company has begun purchasing land directly from the owners.

Incidentally, at a public hearing Jan 15 on the project, many villagers had announced they would “go to any extent” to block the project, saying the power plant would pollute Raikheda and neighbouring villages.

They also said local people are already suffering from skin cancer and other serious diseases on account of pollution by sponge iron units located at the nearby Siltara industrial area.

“At the public hearing, a lot of people turned up for clarification from the company and we are considering their demands.”

He also said GMR would try to take all personnel for the project from the state.

“GMR Energy chose Chhattisgarh for a major power project because of easy access to coal and its location is ideal for power distribution to other states,” Kumar added.

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