BIJAPUR: While there are some middlemen who are happy about the establishment of a super thermal power plant at Kudgi in the district, a majority of the farmers in the region are feeling burnt.
After the police firing on agitating farmers on July 5, the controversy around the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plant has come to the fore again.
Rain-fed cultivation had been the practice for farmers in Basavana Bagewadi taluk for many decades and the price of land did not rise beyond Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000 an acre. However, when the local leaders got wind of the fact that NTPC was interested in the region, they quietly purchased land by paying farmers about Rs 50,000 an acre.
The farmers, who were happy to receive the large sums of money, did not realise that the state government would pay much more compensation to set up an NTPC plant.
The government eventually paid Rs 7 lakh per acre for dry land and Rs 9 lakh per acre for well-irrigated land. And the farmers lost out.
A few who had held on to their land also received good compensation from the government.The people of Kudgi were also under the impression that they would secure well-paying jobs if NTPC came to the area.
However, most of the work was technical and required skilled workers who were brought in from different parts of the country.
Impact on Environment
A volunteer group created awareness among farmers very late in the day. M P Patil, a retired scientist in the Department of Atomic Energy, wrote several letters to the state and central governments in August 2010 requesting a stay against NTPC, but to no avail.
Farmers also worry about the environmental impact the project will have.
They said about 25,000 tonnes of fly ash will collect close to Almatti dam and in case of a disaster, they would suffer. Several public hearings conducted by the state government also failed to bring clarity on the facts to the people of the area.