A strong protest by villagers in Raikheda village of Raipur district in Chhatishgarh forced the district administration to stop a public hearing it had organised for GMR Energy's proposed 1,200-MW power plant in the village.
GMR's power plant envisages to come up on 530 hectares, of which 310 hectares belong to some 250 farmers. The district administration had convened a public hearing, but had to stop the proceedings soon after it began.
The villagers gathered at the meeting place and lodged a strong protest against the project, vowing not allow the power plant to come up in the area. The villagers were anged particularly by the "partisan approach" of the administration, which allowed a section of the people to speak first. The villagers alleged that these people, who spoke in favour of the project, were hired by the company.
Demanding that they should be allowed to put their views first, the local villagers disrupted the proceedings. A contingent of 300 policemen struggled with the villagers to no avail. Finally, the authorities decided to stop the proceedings.
Veduram Verma of the Raikheda village said the officials refused to accept a memorandum signed by 500 villagers against the power project. “The officials told us that they would record only verbal objection and not anything in writing,” Verma said.
Opposing the project at Raikheda, former chairman of state finance commission and senior politician Virendra Pandey said the proposed plant of the GMR Energy would be probably world’s first power project in an area that has neither coal nor water.
The villagers have decided to continue with their protest against the plant and had called for Tilda bandh on February 3.