Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Whom should we address 'honorable' - Farmers or Ministers?

Yesterday, on 18th September 2013, I visited the plant office site of NTPC's ultra mega coal fired power plant being constructed in Chhattishgarh. The project has got green clearance from the MoEF but in an improper way (which we went to see and I would report on that later) and without considering the impacts over Mahanadi, forests and people in Odisha.

The plant site office would be inaugurated today(19th Sept) and hence you see this huge tent. We inquired with the project office people and if they are correct the tent has been brought from Andhra Pradesh at a cost of 10 million rupees. Helipads have been constructed for the inaugural at the cost of 4 million rupees. Flowers for the function, they say, have been bought at 1 lakh rupees. And there are other costs.

Many farmers are sacrificing their land and are yet to get compensation; villagers and ecology in Odisha are going to be drastically impacted negatively and are yet to be consulted; but these so called 'honorable' ministers (the PM's visit was dropped due to security issues we heard but the Chhatisgarh CM and other ministers from Delhi are coming) are flying to this remote location at a cost of not less than 20 million rupees I am sure.

Can we call these people's representatives, who are abusing millions of public money just to inaugurate a plant site office, honorable? Or the real honorable people are those farmers and villagers who are going to sacrifice their lands, homes, farm fields, water and dignity for this so called 'development'?

We seriously need to debate this!

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