Hearing ends with assurances by AP-GENCO MD, Collector

The public hearing on the capacity expansion of the Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station (NTTPS) by 800 MW (Stage-V) held here on Friday plunged into chaos soon after it began but ended on a ‘satisfactory’ note with the AP-GENCO Managing Director K. Vijayanand and District Collector M. Raghunandana Rao promising remedial action.

Infrastructure

Of particular significance were the assurances which Mr. Vijayanand committed to give in writing to the all-party committee, farmers’ and other organisations that a sum of Rs. 36 crore would be spent on creating civic infrastructure in the affected villages under CSR scheme in the next five years. The allocation includes Rs. 21 crore sanctioned for Stage-V and Rs. 15 crore which should have already been spent during construction of the existing units.

Mr. Vijayanand also promised to request the Government’s nod for a super-specialty hospital which the villagers wanted to be built and provision of funds for it.

Mr. Raghunandana Rao said a district-level committee would be constituted under his chairmanship for monitoring the implementation of CSR and other welfare measures. NTTPS Chief Engineer J. Sammaiah will be convener of the committee the modalities of which are to be worked out in the next few days.

Sloganeering

Earlier, leaders of the all-party committee and a motley gathering of farmers and public from 12 affected villages entered the NTTPS playground (venue of the public hearing) shouting slogans against the NTTPS management for allegedly scuttling their voices and demanding that the hearing should be postponed for holding a dialogue with all the stakeholders. They stated that the NTTPS could go ahead with expansion only after fulfilling the host of promises that were made at the time of commissioning the first unit of 210 MW in 1979.

The AP-GENCO MD, District Collector and top officials of NTTPS were not given the opportunity to respond to the slew of allegations made by the organisations. They could speak up only after about two hours when the protesters agreed to listen to what they had to say about the alleged inaction and steps proposed to be taken for undoing the injustice.

The villagers were clearly outnumbered by officials of AP-GENCO and NTTPS and police personnel who were deployed in the morning itself in anticipation of trouble but the hearing ended without much fuss though it gave some tense moments.

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