Andhra Pradesh and coal

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Coal plants in Andhra Pradesh, India

For a full list and map of all coal plants in Andhra Pradesh, India, go to CoalSwarm's Global Coal Plant Tracker and choose Region South Asia, Map India - Andhra Pradesh.

Opposition

July 2010: Resistance against Nagarjuna Construction Company Sompeta Thermal Plant

July 2010: Protesters beaten with lathis by riot police in Srikakulam
60-year-old fisherman G. Krishnamurti mortally wounded in Srikakulam

On July 14, 2010, police in Adhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district fired on farmers and fisherman protesting a 2,640 MW coal plant under construction by Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC), killing two fishermen. In addition, 150 people were injured, including 45 policemen, during clashes between protesters and police. In the wake of the violence, police were deployed in about a dozen villages and banned assembly by more than five persons.[1]

The two fishermen killed were G. Joga Rao of Lakkavaram and G. Krishnamurthy (60) of Palasapuram. A fact-finding team headed by former Orissa high court judge P. K. Mishra issued the following account of the shootings:[2]

"The firing was suddenly done from inside a police van on the Sompeta-Baruva road, on either side of which the fields are located. The police van started moving towards Sompeta, while the man inside continued firing from a close range. The bullets hit the victims above waist level, except two who were hit on the thigh and the ankle. Two persons--G. Joga Rao of Lakkavaram and Krishnamurthy of Plasapuram--died on the spot and five others, including a cameraman of a local television channel, sustained bullet injuries."

One blogger described the "crony capitalism" behind the project as follows:[3]

"[This project] is being developed by Nagarjuna Constructions and it has on its board of directors the esteemed presence of P. Abraham who served as Chairman of EAC (Hydroelectric) and who in the same position approved environmental clearances for various projects which he was himself promoting as a director. He also sits on the board of companies promoted by those who promote the Kakarapalli project. Some of the promoters are marquee names in the Telugu press by now, namely Karvy’s Mr MS Ramakrishna and Matrix Prasad. Mr. P. Abraham also graces the director position in GVK, Lanco group and half a dozen other groups. The world is indeed a small place now. You run into the same names every day. Long live crony capitalism."

February 2011: Resistance against Bhavanapadu Thermal Power Project

On February 28, 2011, in a set of clashes sparked by construction of Bhavanapadu Thermal Power Project by East Coast Energy, police in Srikakulam fired into villagers, killing two people and injuring nearly 25 others. The plant at the center of the violence was in the same district as the coal plant where two people were killed the previous July. The dead were identified as Sirapu Yerraiah (36) of Sirapuvani Peta and J. Nageswara Rao (35) of Akashalakkavaram. At least two of the injured were hit at close range with rubber bullets. Police used guns, teargas, and lathis against villagers, who used stones and sticks. After police threw smoke bombs in Vadditandra village, 50 houses were gutted. A police jeep was burned by villagers.[4] One blogger wrote that the project was a product of "crony capitalism":[5]

The 2640 MW Bhavanapadu coal-based thermal power plant near Kakarapalli is being developed by East Coast Energy Private Limited (ECEPL). If you look out for the promoters of this company in their website, you would find that Athena Energy Ventures Pvt Ltd (AEVPL), AIP Power Pvt Ltd (AIP) and PTC India Financial Services Ltd are among them. All these 3 promote another company Athena Demwe Power Limited for a hydro-electric project in Arunchal Pradesh. If you look at the board of directors of this company, you find a certain Mr. A. Balraj. Mr Balraj is a retired IAS officer and more interestingly, the chairman of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), the same which recommended the environmental clearance for the Kakarapalli!

The following details of this Environmental clearance are available on the website of Ministry of Environment & Forests.[6]

  • Project No: No:J- 13011/36/ 2008-IA II(T)
  • Project Name: 2640 MW Bhavanapadu TPP near Kakrapalli Village
  • District:Sri Kakulam
  • Village:no
  • Company:M/s East Coast Energy Pvt. Ltd.
  • Application for EC received: 18/03/2008
  • EC Approved: 09/04/2009

October 2011: Protesters injured during public hearing

Protesters confront police at hearing in Ankulapaturu village

On Oct. 3, 2011, hundreds of villagers led by Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) and its affiliated unions protested an environmental public hearing by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) regarding the 350 MW Ankulapatur power station phase 1 at Ankulapaturu village in Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore district.

The public hearing was for land acquisition for the power project. Disagreement broke out between those in attendance, and protesters say they were then attacked and beaten by police, with several protestors suffering injuries. The Joint Collector Saurabh Gaur walked away without giving any orders either to the police to withdraw nor giving any declaration regarding the status of the public hearing.

The proposed plant, sponsored by VSF Projects, will use 1,200 acres near Ankulapaturu village of Chillakur mandal in Gudur division in the district. Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) district secretary Ellanki Venkateswarlu said locals in Ankulapaturu and the neighbouring villages were opposing the plant, as existing power projects in the area are already creating health hazards.[7]

At the hearing, project opponent Vijayakumar, was beaten by police. Vijayakumar is a doctor and an activist with Jana Vigyana Vedika a people's science organisation. An charge of attempted murder was registered against inspector Ram Babu under section 307 of the IPC. Opponents of the plant charged that the environmental impact assessment prepared by the company suppressed the impacts of the plant on the ten surrounding villages, which are mostly inhabited by landless Scheduled Tribe (ST) or small farmers belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), and that the plant will be located in the middle of a wetland surrounded by shrimp farms. According to one local leader, about 700 people walked seven to eight kilometres to participate in the hearing after their tractors were blocked by police. At the hearing, sponsored by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, participation was limited to 20-30 people who allegedly were hired by the company to speak. After Vijayakumar asked those opposing the project to raise their hands, police began lathicharging, and Vijayakumar was allegedly strangled by company goons before being rescued by supporters.[8]

Articles and resources

References

  1. "Srikakulam still tense after police firing," The Siasat Daily, July 15, 2010
  2. "Fishermen killed as cops open fire in Srikakulam," India Today, July 28, 2010
  3. "How Crony Capitalism Lead to the Kakarapalli tragedy," The Argumentatitve Indian, March 1, 2011
  4. K. Srinivasa Rao, "2 killed, 25 hurt in police firing in Kakarapalli," The Hindu, March 1, 2011
  5. "How Crony Capitalism Lead to the Kakarapalli tragedy," The Argumentatitve Indian, March 1, 2011
  6. "How Crony Capitalism Lead to the Kakarapalli tragedy," The Argumentatitve Indian, March 1, 2011
  7. "Public hearing on power plant stalled" The Hindu, Oct. 4, 2011.
  8. M Suchitra, "Public hearing for thermal power plant in Andhra Pradesh turns violent," DownToEarth.org, October 10, 2011

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