Say the power plant will sound a ‘death knell’ to farming and fishing there

Residents of a few villages in Kancheepuram district expressed their reservations over the proposal to start an ultra mega power plant in Cheyyur, Kancheepuram district on Wednesday, on the ground that the entire process of execution lacked transparency.

 They conveyed their disapproval when a team of officials from the Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited and the Central Electricity Authority along with representatives from leading players in the power sector, visited the project site on Wednesday.

The Rs. 4,000-megawatt project, which obtained environmental clearance recently, envisaged an investment of Rs. 24,000 crore for a 4,000-megawatt thermal power plant.

Among the companies which visited the project site were Adani Power, Jindal Power, JSW Energy, L&T, CLP (China Light & Power) India, and NTPC. 

The team of officials and representatives arrived at Cheyyur and visited villages including Panaiyur, Velaad, Vilangaadu and Thanneerpanthal among others.

The residents were able to interact with the government officials as well as the representatives from the industry.

The villagers, all of them either fishermen or farmers, lost no time in submitting their grievance, stating that the power plant would sound a ‘death knell’ to farming and fishing activities.

The construction of jetties to off-load coal would put an end to coastal fishing and a few hundred families would be deprived of their livelihood.

Farmers said that among the 1,110 acres proposed to be acquired for the project, a majority of it was fertile cultivable land and farming was on even now.

Farmers further said that the proposal to acquire land with a sum of Rs. 1.5 lakh as compensation per acre was “thoroughly unjust.”

The market rate was anywhere between Rs. 15 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh an acre.

If the farmers were to accept the amount fixed as compensation, they would not be able to purchase even a cent of cultivable land, they added.

The officials tried to allay the fears of farmers, stating that thorough environmental impact assessment reports were carried out and that there would be no threat of massive displacement.

Fishermen could continue with their fishing activity, the officials told them.

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