Andhra Pradesh

Work on N.P. Kunta solar park comes to a standstill

A view of the Ultra Mega Solar Park at N.P. Kunta in Anantapur district.

A view of the Ultra Mega Solar Park at N.P. Kunta in Anantapur district.  

Row over non-payment of compensation to ‘project oustees’ the trigger.

Work on the Ultra Mega Solar Park at Nambulapulakunta (N.P. Kunta) in the district has come to a halt.

The turn of events is attributed to the political fight between the two dominant parties for a lion’s share in the contracts from three companies that are executing the work on the 750 MW solar park.

The venture

The facility, which is coming up close to Kadiri in the district, is promoted by the Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation, a joint venture of the AP Genco (49%) and Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd. (51%) in 2015. NTPC had completed part of the 1,000 MW project (250 MW units) in 2016 in 1,250 acres.

Three foreign companies are executing the remaining 750 MW Central Government project.

‘Workers attacked’

After the swearing-in of the new Chief Minister, a few YSRCP activists allegedly went to the site at N.P. Kunta and attacked the workers there. They allegedly tried to harm government officials too.

Kadiri Circle Inspector K. Reddappa told The Hindu that cases were registered against a few persons on June 1.

APSPCL divisional engineer Siva Sankar Naidu was also allegedly targeted, but he managed to escape with police protection. Work had come to a standstill since then.

‘Fight for contracts’

While essentially it is a fight for a share in the contracts, it is projected as though it is a fallout of the alleged non-payment of compensation to the land-holders.

The incumbent district Collector, S. Satyanarayana, while working as the Joint Collector, had finalised the names of the project evacuees.

Now, a fresh list is being prepared of the “so-called” oustees, and there is a demand from the YSRCP leaders to pay compensation to them too.

In all, 6,700 acres was acquired for the project. Of it, private patta land was 180 acres, Darakastu Patta (DKT) land 2,100 acres, and government land 4,400 acres. A panel comprising the District Collector, the Joint Collector, the Kadiri RDO and the MD of APSPCL had fixed the rates as follows: private land at the rate of ₹3.25 lakh per acre and DKT land at ₹2.10 lakh per acre based on the registration rate of ₹60,000 per acre.

The amount was disbursed to all the farmers, except for 56 DKT passbook- holders. The Revenue Department identified 1,156 S.J. Dhar farmers who were tilling the land, for which the APSPCL had deposited ₹11.56 crore with the district Collector in 2016, and the then Collector, Kona Sashidhar, disbursed the amount. Following complaints from locals, the money was taken back from the bank accounts.

Later, Mr. Sashidhar had constituted committee with eight Deputy Collectors for identifying the original S.J. Dhar farmers, and it reported that none was eligible for compensation. The report was sent to the government in 2016. In 2018, the Centre had floated the tenders and finalised the contracts in favour of the U.K.-based Ayana Power, Sprng Energy of France, and Soft Bank of Japan (250 MW units each).

Compensation paid

In June 2018, the farmers launched an agitation seeking money for the 56 DKT patta-holders and 1,156 S.J. Dhar farmers. Outgoing Collector G. Veerapandian had resent the proposals to Principal Secretary (Energy) Ajay Jain, and the then Chief Minister approved it.

The revenue authorities identified 932 members out of the 1,156 S.J. Dhar farmers and disbursed ₹9.32 crore. While the remaining persons are seeking compensation, new names are added to the list with political backing. The project work has thus come to a standstill.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:31:16 PM |

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