THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finally, an expensive solution to the Edamon-Kochi impasse. The State Government has issued orders approving a Rs 341-crore ‘Special Compensation Package’ for farmers and landowners in Edamon-Kochi sector of the 400 kV Tirunelveli-Madakkathara transmission corridor who had objected to the line being drawn over their lands.
This line is imperative for evacuating Kerala’s share of power from Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu to Madakkathara sub-station in Thrissur. Work on the stretch has been delayed for several years owing to the protests.
Earlier this year, the High Court had instructed the government to resolve the matter quickly so that Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) can get on with the work.
The cost of implementing the package will be shared equally by the State Government and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
The KSEB will meet the cost by availing of a loan. The government’s share will be granted subsequently, as per the order dated August 19.
Essentially, for the new package, what the government has done is to overhaul a compensation package announced in 2009 by ramping up the compensation amount.
The compensation amount has been upped from 70 per cent to 100 per cent of the land value for damages caused to plantations while erecting transmission towers. For paddy fields, the compensation has been hiked from 40 per cent to 100 per cent of land value.
The ex-gratia payment for land area covered under the conductors along the line in private land has been increased from 20 per cent to 40 per cent. This will not be applicable to lands falling in the existing corridors of the KSEB which will be used by the PGCIL.
As many as 380 houses have been identified as existing along the route of the proposed corridor. In the inevitable situation where the line is drawn over any of the houses, a one-time payment of Rs 1 lakh will be made.
The Special Compensation Package, the Government Order dated August 19 has emphasised, is “meant exclusively for the construction of the 400 kV transmission line in the Edamon-Kochi sector, in recognition of the peculiar facts and circumstances involved in the issue, as a special case, and subject to the condition that the same will not be applicable in any other case or quoted as a precedent”.
PGCIL had completed the Tirunelveli-Edamon (in Pathanamthitta) and Madakkathara-Pallikkara (Kochi) segments, when Right of Way issues and protests on the Edamon-Kochi sector hit work. Kerala’s share from the first two 1,000 MW units at KKNPP is 266 MW.
The first 1,000 MW unit was synchronised with the Southern Grid last year, and although commercial generation is yet to be started on a formal basis, Kerala has started receiving power. Now this quota is being brought to Madakkathara via the circuitous Udumalpet route. This is unviable as transmission losses will be high when the second unit also begins operations.
Earlier, following the protests, the government had proposed converting an existing 220 kV line of the KSEB to a multi-circuit line as an alternative, but this idea had been found unviable and scrapped.