A Curious Case of Proposed Adani Power Plant in Jharkhand

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Perhaps, my Jharkhand state is one of the few states in India that continues to compromise its own people’s interests in favour of the outsiders, more so for promoting and protecting the business interests of the corporate groups with deep-pockets. There are umpteenth examples to support this statement of fact. We need not delve into the past.

The most recent example is the setting up of planned Adani Power Plant Project in coal-rich Santal Pargana region. This proposed power plant is likely to be set up in Godda district of Jharkhand.

Mind you, in this project, Adani Power will set up power project to supply 1600 MW to Bangladesh, not to our power starved Jharkhand state.

Yes, you read it right.

According to the well-spelled out Jharkhand Power Policy guideline of the past, which clearly states that any company setting up power project in Jharkhand has to supply 25% power to the state, as part of it at a rate fixed by the regulatory body and another at variable cost. But this guideline has been junked by BJP Government to blatantly promote the business interests of Adani Group.

In the recent months, Jharkhand Government led by BJP Party has inked an agreement with Adani Group to set up its proposed power plant. And curiously enough, while signing the Agreement with Adani, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and his own ruling BJP Party have conveniently forgotten the above-mentioned well-defined power policy guideline of our state.

It comes as no surprise at all that, since then Adani Power has advised our Jharkhand Government to amend the above-mentioned policy guidelines in their power-plant agreement. This influential company has requested the Jharkhand Government to grant it unprecedented concession, so that it can supply 25% power to the state from sources other than this project.

How convenient is that?

A powerful corporate giant asks BJP Government to compromise and the BJP government meekly surrenders the interests of its Jharkhandi people at the altars of Adani’s commercial interests.

So in near future, as per BJP Government’s grand power generation plans, Adani Power will generate 1600 Mw of electricity in Jharkhand and then supply the entire1600 Mw of electricity to Bangladesh. It seems strange that the Jharkhand Government led by the so-called nationalist party, BJP, is more concerned about the supply of 1600 Mw of electricity to a foreign country, Bangladesh; rather than to build power plants to supply electricity to our power starved state, Jharkhand, of its own country.

When we dig further, then we discover that for this proposed Power project, BJP Government is leaving no stone unturned. It is going all out to aid Adani Group to acquire farmers’ agricultural land at highly discounted prices. In complete contravention of Santal Pargana Tenanacy Acts (SPT) and prevailing market rates, allegedly the BJP Government is forcing the landowners to sell their lands at the much lower price than the prevailing market rate. It may be noted that many of the affected farmers belong to Adivasi and Moolvasi communities. Their farm lands are protected by SPT acts. Yet, BJP Government is adamant on crushing any opposition to ensure the forcible land-acquisition drive for the said power plant continue.

It’s mind-boggling.

The power-deficient Jharkhand state is going to provide lower-priced land to Adani power plant and Adani will not supply it even an iota of power from its Godda plant.

Furthermore, Jharkhand is likely to provide cheap labour and other key resources like coal. It will also bear the indirect cost of pollution and the ecological damage.

We do wonder why the interests of Jharkhand and its natives are being deliberately compromised. Why voluble CM Raghubar Das silently sidestepped the Jharkhand State Policy on Power Plants? We do not know why this is happening. Is it the pressure from the above? Or is it the case of corruption? Perhaps, only a deeper investigation into this issue will answer these pertinent queries.

I have heard of Export Oriented Units. But this is a farce. It’s a unique case of Power Plant Export Oriented Unit of Jharkhand promoted by BJP and sponsored by Adani.  It seems so unjustified. What kind of development model is this? Why Jharkhand gets to bear all the cost? And Adani gets to corner all the benefits? Is BJP promoting crony-capitalism here? What about Jharkhand’s interests?

Sad reality is that with a BJP Government at helms of affairs, no doubt, the fate of Jharkhand is immersed in darkness and the wheels of internal-colonial policies will keep on churning here. The ground realities will not change, unless, the opposition political parties and the concerned denizens rise up to resist such anti-Jharkhand acts. Or else, misusing its brute majority, the brazen BJP Government is likely to keep on trampling on our rights and propagating the exploitative policies of the past.

And that will be tragic for entire Jharkhand.

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Sameer Bhagat

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Social-Activist. Author of SALVAGING ADIDWEEP.


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