NTPC boss Arup Roy Choudhury greets chief minister Hemant Soren in Ranchi on Friday. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, Nov. 22: The CMD of NTPC Arup Roy Choudhury today called on chief minister Hemant Soren at Project Building and apprised him of issues hindering the PSU’s mining and power projects in Jharkhand.
Choudhury, who was accompanied by company’s director (technical) Anil Kumar Jha, expressed concern over the slow pace of progress in three coal blocks and a power plant proposed in Hazaribagh and Chatra districts.
He sought the state government’s intervention to resolve the deadlock over land. According to sources, the NTPC boss also urged the state to play a proactive role as far as law and order and clearances were concerned.
The power major is executing three coal projects at Pankri-Barwadih, Chhatti-Bariattu and Keredari in Hazaribagh, apart from a 1,300MW thermal power plant at North Karanpura in Tandwa of Chatra district.
“We are committed to completing the projects in Jharkhand. The NTPC will provide Rs 500 crore for widening Hazaribagh-Tandwa-Bijupara road. Also, we have plans to set up a power engineering college in the region,” Choudhury told The Telegraph, without elaborating on existing problem areas.
Company sources said village protest against land acquisition was the main obstacle.
The death of a villager in the July 23 police firing at Pagaar in Keredari block had made the situation even worse. On that fateful day, the villagers were protesting against construction of a site office for Chhatti-Bariattu project. Following a tiff between NTPC contractors and villagers, police had opened fire on agitators, killing Keshar Mahto (52) and injuring three others.
On July 31, the chief minister said his government favoured industry, but coercion was a complete no-no.
NTPC public relations officer Gulshan Toppo said no engineer was willing to go to project sites in the aftermath of the July 23 incident.
“A few barricades have come up on approach roads to villages near the project site. There has not been any progress in the project, literally,” a company official said.
During his meeting today, Choudhury sought to assure state higher-ups that NTPC was serious with on CSR.
“We have trained and provided jobs to over 100 local youths in Pankri-Barwadih project alone. Tenders have been floated for North Karanpura projects. All problems (with villagers) have been resolved and it should be complete in the 13th Plan period (2012-17),” he asserted.