Andhra Pradesh to minimise land acquisition for Sumitomo power project in Srikakulam

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The Andhra Pradesh Government has written to Sumitomo Corporation to make do with 1,650 acres of land for the construction of a 4,000 megawatt power plant in Polaki mandal of Srikakulam District.

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The company had sought 3,000 acres to build an ultra supercritical thermal project there. The State Government strongly felt that 1,650 acres would be adequate since the Japanese company had decided to use the latest technology for the construction of the thermal plant.

The Srikakulam District administration had been facing vehement protests from local people over the project. It has come up with a new proposal to minimize land acquisition for the project in view of the protests. The Government has 1,300 acres of its own land. Only 300 acres of private land would be acquired for the project.

Srikakulam Collector P. Lakshmi Narasimham has sent a detailed new plan to the State Government explaining the local conditions.

The administration now thinks that Sumitomo would not need a huge acreage for storage of coal imported from Australia and other countries. Polaki is close to the sea and coal can be brought in by a conveyer belt. As per the pared down plan, only two villages would be affected due to land acquisition. “We can convince local people to give us around 300 acres of private land,” Mr. Lakshmi Narasimham told The Hindu.

However, villagers in Thotada, Rallapalli, and Susaram argued that the Government does not in fact possess the 1,300 acres it claims to have. A big portion of that land had already been assigned to local farmers. The CPI and CPI(M) leaders also said that assigned lands should not be touched as long as it is being cultivated as per the new rules and regulations under the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act-2014.

“We don’t agree with the argument of the Government. The left parties will continue to extend their cooperation to this agitation. We will not allow acquisition of fertile lands,” said CPI(M) Srikakulam secretary Bhaviri Krishnamurthy.

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