Massive protests by affected villagers and clashes between supporters and opponents of the proposed Mahaguj coal mining project led to the postponement of the meeting of Rehabilitation & Periphery Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) for the project.
The Mahaguj coal mining project is a joint venture between Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd and Gujarat State Electricity Corporation. Ahmedabad-based Adani Group’s flagship company Adani Enterprises has won rights to develop and operate the coal block.
The firm had lined up an investment of around Rs 2,500 crore for developing the coal block with an annual capacity of 40 million tonne per annum and also for setting up a coal washery.
The Mahaguj project at Chhendipada near here, is facing frequent protests by affected villagers of four panchayats. In December 2011, the agitating villagers had disrupted public hearing held for obtaining environment clearance for the project.
On Tuesday, the protesters, opposing the holding of the RPDAC meet, laid siege of the meeting venue at the Angul collectorate. The clash erupted when some project supporters reached the spot. Later, the protesters left the place after the district authorities announced that the RPDAC meet has been deferred.
Four platoons of police forces were deployed to defuse tension.
Irate protesters allegedly attacked some media persons and advocates who have filed two FIRs at the Angul police station, said S Muduli, inspector-in-charge. No injuries have been reported in the clashes.
Alekh Padhiary, revenue divisional commissioner-RDC (northern division) said, “The RPDAC meet could not take place for want of quorum. There was a review meeting on the progress of the project.”
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To ensure uninterrupted implementation of the scheme, state govt had released Rs 300 crore as advance from its own funds