Bihar and coal
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With over 104 million people, the interior state of Bihar in north-east India is the third most populous in the country; if it were an independent country, it would be the tenth most populous country in the world. About the same size as Hungary or Indiana, Bihar is densely populated -- its population density of 1,100 people per square kilometer is greater than that of Bangladesh. 
Opposition to the Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project
The Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project is a 1980 megawatt (MW) coal-fired proposed by Nabinagar Power Generating Company(NPGC), a joint venture of NTPC and the Bihar State Electricity Board. It is proposed that the power station comprise 3 x 660MW units and be commissioned in 2015-16. The proposed plant is located at Majhiyan and Ankorha villages near Nabinagar in Aurangabad district.
It is estimated that the project will require 11.25 million tonnes per annum of coal from the North Karanpura Coalfields in Jharkhand, which are operated by of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), a subsidiary of Coal India.
Farmers, whose land was earmarked for the project, have campaigned against the project and the terms of acquisition. In early January 2011 farmers sent a petition to the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, objecting to the terms of the proposed land acquisition and objecting to the plan to establish the project on fertile farming land. "Even land reforms commissioner Chandragupta Ashok Vardhan had made a proposal against setting up industrial project on fertile land, but attempts are on to forcibly take over our fertile land", the letter said. The land in the area is capable of producing three crops a year. NTPC's normal compensation rate for land for power plants is Rs 5.50 lakh - Rs 7 lakh per acre for setting up power plants. A NTPC official stated that while the project required 2,800 acres of land it had acquired 1,871 acres "on paper only." "If total land is not physically handed over to the Nabinagar super thermal power project (NSTPP) by January end, this project is likely to face a rough weather," said an official.
In November 2011 work on the project site was temporarily halted as a result of farmers opposition. Work resumed after the government increased the amount of compensation paid to Rs 14.61 lakh. The local district administrator stated that all 2,832 acres of land required for the project has been acquired.
In February 2012, it was reported that a stalemate between the Bhartiya Rail Biujlee Company Limited (BRBCL), the farmers, and the Aurangabad district administration continued after 15 days of talks among the parties.
In January 2011, a farmer involved in protests against the Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project was reportedly killed. According to the a report in The Times of India, the death occurred during "violent agitation" during which farmers "stoned a speeding train and clashed with police." Also in January 2011, Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Qaiser condemned the lathicharge and tear-gassing of farmers demonstrating for adequate compensation for land, formed a four-member committee to inquire into the incident, and demanded the unconditional release of farmers held in custody.
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- "Bihar," Wikipedia, accessed June 2012
- Bihar State Electricity Board, "New Projects", Bihar State Electricity Board, accessed November 2011.
- "Status Update of Nabinagar Super thermal power project", Infraline.com, November 16, 2011.
- Pranava K Chaudhary, "NTPC project faces land hurdle", Times of India, January 7, 2011.
- Nishant Sinha,, "Standoff over Nabinagar power plant ends", Times of India, October 23, 2011.
- "Stalemate over powerplant persists," The Times of India, February 21, 2012
- "Standoff over Nabinagar power plant ends," The Times of India, October 23, 2011
- "State Cong forms team to probe lathicharge on Nabinagar farmers," The Times of India, January 18, 2011