In a very important development, on 11th of March 2013, the acquisition of the houses of 6500 families affected by the Maheshwar dam lapsed, when the land acquisition awards could not be passed within two years from the date of the Section 6 declaration under the Land Acquisition Act on the 11th of March
2011, because of the failure of the private company owning the project -
Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited, belonging to the S.Kumars group to deposit the required funds for the award amount to be paid as compensation to the affected villagers. At the same time, the M.P. Power Management Company has also issued show cause notice to the Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited for the cancellation of the R&R agreement. In light of the refusal of the State Government to purchase the extremely high cost Maheshwar power and steps taken by it to terminate the Power Purchase Agreement for the project, as well as the deliberate and willful failure of the private company to ensure payment of compensation and the rehabilitation and resettlement measures for the oustees, the NBA demands that the project should be scrapped and status existing before the
constriction of the project be restored.
Illegal land acquisition process ongoing for 2 years
The process of acquisition of the houses of 6500 families belonging to the 7 most populous villages of Pathrad, Sulgaon, Bhatiyan Bujurg, Mardana, Nagawan, Amlatha, and Sasabarud affected by the Maheshwar Project commenced on 5th March 2010. After that the company Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited (SMHPCL) executed an agreement under Section 41 of the Land
Acquisition Act with the State Government to deposit in advance the entire award amount before the land acquisition proceedings. However without any such advance deposit by the company, the proceedings under Section 6, 9, etc were illegally carried out. Despite repeated demands by the Land Acquisition
Officer and the Superintending Engineer of the M.P. Power Management Company who is responsible for the R&R works, the Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited did not deposit the required award amount of Rs. 305 crores. It is noteworthy that if award under the Land Acquisition Act is not passed within 2 years of Section 6 declaration by the Government, the land acquisition proceedings automatically lapse. In these cases, the Section 6 declaration was on the 11th of March 2011. Thus, when the awards were not passed by the Land Acquisition Officers by the 11th of March 2013, because of the failure of the company to deposit the award amount, the entire land acquisition proceedings lapsed, and became nullified.
Wilful refusal to do acquisition and R&R
As per own admission of company SMHPCL, they have invested Rs. 3300 crores on the project, but only Rs. 203 crores out of a total required Rs. 740 crores on R&R works. The statutorily binding Environmental Clearance for the project and Orders of the Supreme Court requires that all R&R measures
including allotment of land may be done well in advance of completion of dam construction. It is thus clear that the SMHPCL has not released the funds required for the R&R of thousands of affected families, and has obstructed the R&R of these families.
State gives notice to cancel Rehabilitation Agreement
The M.P. Power Management Company which was implementing the R&R measures for the Maheshwar Project, on behalf of the Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited has taking cognizance of the persistent defaults by the SMHPCL to release required funds of R&R, has issued a show cause notice to
the SMHPCL as to why the M.P. Power Management Company Limited should not cancel the R&R agreement and withdraw its staff from the project site. The State has also rejected the reply of the SMHPCL in this regard.
Project should be scrapped in public interest
In light of the fact that the State Government has initiated the process of termination of the Power Purchase Agreement for the purchase of the extremely expensive Maheshwar power, and on the other hand the M.P. Power Management Company is seeking to cancel the R&R agreement because the actions of the company has resulted in cancellation of the acquisition of the houses of 70% of the oustees and non-completion of over 85% of the R&R works, the Narmada Bachao Andolan demands that the project should be scrapped in public interest, and the status existing before the construction of the dam be restored.
Alok Agarwal, Surendra Singh, Kailash Patidar, Mohanbhai
Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh -450 001
Telefax : 0733 - 2228318
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org