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Nagarjuna Construction Company

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Nagarjuna Construction Company, now known as NCC Limited, is a diversified construction and infrastructure company based in Hyderabad, India. The company had 48.3 billion Rs in revenue in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.[1]

Coal Projects

Nagarjuna Construction Company Sompeta Thermal Plant was a 2640 MW coal-fired power plant proposed for Sompeta in Andhra Pradesh, India. The first phase of the Andhra Pradesh plant - 1,320 MW - was to begin generation by 2014. NCC had acquired 972 acres from the Andhra government and 573 acres were purchased from private owners to set up the plant.[2]

In the wake of highly publicized protests and the killings of two local residents by police, the project's environmental clearance was revoked by the ministry of environment and forests in July, 2010.[3]

On January 18, 2011, Nagarjuna Construction Company announced that it had acquired a 55 per cent share in Chennai-based Nelcast Energy Corporation Ltd (NECL), which is developing a 1320 MW thermal project at Krishnapatnam in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.[4]

Local Opposition

Some farmers who lost their land to the Nagarjuna Construction Company Sompeta Thermal Plant approached the High Court to challenge the Government Order for the plant. In June 2010, the petitioners highlighted a communication from the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA) issuing instructions (No. B2/2225/2003) to all district collectors ordering them "to protect water bodies on war-footing basis under Neeru Meeru Programe and to identify and include all lands covered by water bodies," which petitioners say the plant violates. The petitioners also contend that the land allotted to NCC for thermal power project is a precious wet land on which local people are dependent.[5]

July 2010: Resistance against Nagarjuna Construction Company's coal plant

July 2010: Protesters beaten with lathes 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.[6]

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:[7]

"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:[8]

"[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."

A few days after the firing incident took place, the National Environmental Appellate Authority (NEAA) had rejected environmental clearance for the thermal power project.[9]

Suspension Order

Dealing with the June 2010 writ petition, a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice NR Rao issued an interim order in June 2011 suspending a government order (GO) allotting land to NCC. Justice Nuti Ramamohan Rao, while staying the GO, ordered that no work be carried out at the project site.[5]

A senior official of NCC had recently said that they may pursue the Nagarjuna Construction Company Sompeta Thermal Plant after 2012.[9]

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