Fear that water tables will go down if company operates two pumps

In a first of its kind response from the farmers to the establishment of solar power projects, which are mostly considered non-polluting, farmers of the nearby villages in Peddavaduguru and Singanamala mandal staged a protest against establishment of the plant.

Around 150 farmers from Gangiguntapalli, Naagalapuram villages of the Peddavaduguru mandal and Tarimela and Nidanavada villages of the Singanamala mandal staged a protest at the water pumping site of the proposed 50 MW solar power project being established by MEIL, a company with its major interests in the infrastructure sector, demanding that the company should immediately stop its plans to draw water from the Penna river water bed.

Speaking to The Hindu, the farmers of these villages contended that the water tables would be down if the company operated two pumps of 30 horse power each, effectively playing spoilsport with their future in farming in around six villages in the Peddavaduguru and Singanamala mandals.

Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd has been building a 50 MW solar thermal power plant near Chittur village of the Peddavaduguru mandal in the district in around 500 acres. Most of the lands acquired for the project was private lands bought by the company directly from the owners in the villages.

Since the plant is a solar thermal power plant, which uses the thermal radiation component for the heat, it also requires adequate water for the heat to be absorbed and to subsequently turn it into energy, just as in a typical thermal power plant.

Speaking on the issue, the manager, who is in-charge of commissioning the plant, Ravinder Reddy told The Hindu that the company was yet to draw water from the river bed. But he added that the company had the requisite permissions to draw 0.01 TMC of water from the Penna river over the four rainy months for the project.

Had the project been a solar photo-voltaic one using only the light packets of the sunlight to produce energy, needing no other raw material other than the sunlight, most farmers might not have had a problem. But, with the current project requiring water, farmers in a district like that of Anantapur were bound to be concerned.

  • Farmers worried as the project requires water as raw material to produce energy

  • Project in-charge says that they have requisite permission to draw water from Penna river