No displacement due to NHPCs hydel projects: State govt

Bhubaneswar: Rejecting apprehension that hydropower plants proposed by the state-run OHPC and NHPC would affect local people in three western districts, the state government on Saturday claimed that the height of each barrage has been reduced to rule out displacement.

"There will be no displacement due to the three proposed power generation units to be developed jointly by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC)," state Energy minister Atanu S Nayak told reporters today while reacting to allegations made by former MP Bhabani Hota.

NHPC on Thursday signed an MoU with the state government to set up the hydropower plants in Sonepur (100 MW), Sambalpur (100 MW) and Boudh (120 MW) districts across Mahanadi river in western parts of the state. An estimated Rs 3,000 crore would be invested in the project, Nayak said.

Hota had alleged on Friday that the proposal for such a project down the Hirakud reservoir on river Mahanadi was abandoned in 1996 due to stiff opposition.

"About 118 villages will be affected besides submergence of about 240 acre of land," the former MP had claimed at a media conference at Sambalpur.

The Energy minister, however, said the height of each barrage had been reduced by two meters, therefore there was no question of submergence.

"The Sindol-I, II and III units in Sambalpur were not exactly the Hirakud Stage-III project as was proposed in the 90s. We have changed the DPR (Detailed Project Report) for each unit to ensure that the people are not affected," the Energy minister said adding that the project would be completed within four years.

While the Hirakud Stage-III project was likely to displace people from at least nine villages according to the old DPR in Sambalpur district, the amended version of the DPR estimated that only six villages would be affected due to construction of roads and other infrastructure.

However, not a single person will be displaced, Nayak claimed.

The minister pointed out that the proposed units in Sonepur and Boudh would also not affect anyone.

"We have taken maximum care before preparing DPR for Sindol-I, II and III units," he said.