Adani Group and Godda district officials conduct the public hearing at Mali village in Poreyahat block, Godda, on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, May 3: The Adani Group, which seeks to acquire over 900 acres in Godda district for its proposed 1,600MW power plant, has agreed in principle to offer almost Rs 50 lakh per acre to land owners, according to a senior company official.
"Those who took part in meetings today, at Mali village in Poreyahat block, and yesterday at Gangta for Motia, Gangta and Patwa villages of Godda block, said that they had no problem with the project, provided they got decent compensation. We have, therefore, agreed to offer Rs 49,10,400 per acre," said a senior Adani Group executive overseeing land acquisition in Godda.
The proposal, he added, had been forwarded to seniors in the company to be placed before the board of directors for approval.
The Godda district administration had graded land into dhani 1, 2 and 3 based on fertility, with market values of over Rs 6 lakh, over Rs 9 lakh and over Rs 12 lakh per acre. But to acquire the land an investor would have to pay four times the rate according to the state's R&R policy. Going by the rate of almost Rs 50 lakh an acre, it means all land will be treated as dhani III, irrespective of earlier gradation, which would greatly benefit owners of dhani I and II plots.
According to local sources, over 500 people took part in today's public hearing in Mali where the company identified 166.40 acres to be acquired. Word on the Rs 50 lakh per acre offer has spread and land owners, claimed sources, seemed happy with the development.
At the meeting, most participants demanded financial assistance for the marriage of dependent women, apart from compensatory jobs or Rs 5.50 lakh cash or a monthly pension of Rs 2,000 for 20 years.
At yesterday's meeting, landowners had insisted on payment of a bonus after every 10 years. They also asked ownership rights be reverted to them if and when the project became defunct or if the land was unused for five years.
"We will be giving all due benefits to land donors and labourers and sharecroppers working in the fields. Over 1,800 families would be affected by the project," a company official said, adding they would also undertake several projects under corporate social responsibility.
Godda DC Bhuvnesh Pratap Singh said a similar meeting would be held tomorrow with land donors and affected families of Sondhia and Gaighat villages of Poraiyahat block. Any new demand that was raised at the meeting, to be held at Gaighat, would be placed before the rehabilitation and resettlement committee comprising the local MP, MLAs, minister in-charge of the district C.P. Singh, senior officials of the district administration and the company.
"We are completing all formalities to ensure that groundwork for the proposed plant begins at the earliest. Everything is being done with the consent of gram sabhas. Perhaps for the first time in the country, so many meetings with the land donors and affected families are being held for one project," Singh said.
The government of chief minister Raghubar Das, that has been wooing industry aggressively ever since it came to power over two years ago, would like to see the Adani project take off so that it is able to showcase its success to draw more investors to Jharkhand.
Most big-ticket industrial projects had to either wind up midway or could not take-off in the first place following violent protests over land acquisition issues. In Godda, too, Babulal Marandi's JVM is leading an agitation against the project.
But the local administration claims that the mood of the people was in favour of the project. "This is the real beauty of this project. I cannot comment beyond this at the moment," deputy commissioner Singh gushed.