Friday, May 15, 2009

Govt may review Kathikund power project

14 May 2009, 2137 hrs IST, TNN

DUMKA: The state government is contemplating to review the proposed 1000 MW thermal power plant at Kathikund in view of the prevailing resentment
among the natives of the area.

The government stance on the issue could deal a severe blow to private firms which have inked MoUs with the state in connection with different projects.

The shift in the government stance seems to be the fallout of the last year's police firing on protesters opposed to the coming up of the power plant at Kathikund. The issue had snowballed into a major controversy as six tribals had received gunshot injuries with two of them succumbing later on.

Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, who arrived in the sub-capital on Thursday to review the state of affairs in Santhal Parganas, told the media that the state government would under no circumstances allow the recurrence of such an incident.

He said that MoUs inked with private firms would be strictly reviewed before their execution.

The Governor, however, admitted that the much hyped R&R policy of the state government envisaging more benefits to displaced people is yet to be notified. He also did not submit anything regarding the delay in the same, particularly when the natives belonging to different project areas are apprehensive and up in arms against the setting up of different projects.

The Kathikund power plant, it may be mentioned here, is proposed to be set up by the RPG Group at a cost of Rs 4000 crore. The fate of the project seems to be hanging fire as the administration has failed to acquire land for the purpose due to a movement launched by the Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, an NGO, with the support of the respective gram sabhas (village bodies).

The state government is yet to announce compensation packages for the Kathikund firing victims. To make the matter worse, the administration has even branded the victims as Maoist sympathisers.

During a brief interaction with mediapersons at the Raj Bhavan, Razi distinguished the prevailing Maoist menace in the district with the general law and problem, saying that not only Jharkhand, other parts of the country, too, are severely affected by the menace.

The Governor, who arrived here for the first time since the imposition of the President's Rule on the state, expressed satisfaction over the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary polls amidst the poll boycott call given by the banned Naxal outfits.

"Barring some minor incidents, the two-phase Lok Sabha elections passed off peacefully in the state. There have been no reports of outlaws preventing voters from exercising their franchise," Razi remarked to a pointed query regarding the Maoist ambush on a polling team in Kathikund block in which a village chowkidar was killed and three polling staff, including a cop, received serious bullet injuries.

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