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Gobindpura Thermal Power Plant, Punjab, India


Gobindpura, a small village in Mansa Districts of Punjab has a population of about 2500.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Gobindpura Thermal Power Plant, Punjab, India
State or province:Punjab
Location of conflict:VIllage - Gobindpura; District- Mansa
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 1,320MW power plant in Gobindpura village at Mansa is to be set up by India Bulls, a subsidiary of Poena power. The power plant is proposed to come up on more than 880 acres of land spanning over three villages, and would cost Rs 7,000 crore. Though work has initiated at the 1,980MW Banawala power plant, there is no activity at the proposed power plant in Gidderbaha as well [4]

Project area:326
Level of Investment:$1,131,706,615 (Rs 7,000 crore)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2500-3000
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Poena Power Company from India
Indiabulls Infrastructure Ltd (Formerly known as M/s Sophia Power Company Ltd) from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Punjab
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt Punjab [1, ], Nature Human Centric People's Movement (NHCPM) [2]
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Compensation offered by the authorities was not satisfactory. People have decided to move to the court challenging the compensation given [2]
State Congress members from each district will stage dharna outside administrative headquarters in Mansa every day [3].
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:The fact finding Committee of the Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt Punjab has observed that land acquisition at Gobindpura is mired in suspicion & controversies. People have openly complained of cheating, fraud, nepotism, bribery, political black-mail, intimidation & repression, by an unholy combine of Indiabulls, Akali leaders, Civil & police officials etc
Gobindpura power plant has neither yet obtained environmental clearance, nor signed a Power Purchase Agreement with the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. It seems to have been done deliberately, to avoid embarrassing questions about the cost-benefit analysis of the project.
The committee demands that the present process of land acquisition at Gobindpura should be immediately halted as it is illegal, undemocratic and contrary to the policy framework designed by the Govt itself. The acquired land should be returned to their owners.
All the houses and house-sites acquired should be returned to their owners and damage caused to them should be compensated.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Poena Power Co. for setting up this project should be cancelled and all new projects should be allowed only through competitive bidding in public sector.
Company should be asked to get the land required for the project from the land owners, through direct negotiations and the Govt should not interfere in this process.
A thorough inquiry be ordered through central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI), in the manner this project was awarded and in the process of land acquisition, and the guilty should be punished.
The people of Gobindpura should be suitably compensated for loss of crops, livelihood, habitat, liberty etc., suffered by them during this period, due to repressive measures adopted by the State.
Appropriate criminal cases be registered against all those police officials who resorted to illegal arrests and detentions, assaults and lathi-charge, caused death of Surjit Singh Hamidi and injuries to many others, damaged vehicles, during the struggle and they should be suitably punished.
All police barricades should be lifted from around village Gobindpura and the liberty and democratic rights of the people be restored [1,5].
Farmers agitating against land acquisition for the Govindpura (Mansa) thermal plant in Punjab have suspended their agitation till September 13, 2011 after talks between them and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Badal has assured the agitating farmers that he will initiate the process to return the land to the owners [6]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:With the acquisition of this land, 62 families of the village have become landless. Another 123 families have been left with very small holdings.
Besides the farmers, families of 14 Dalit agricultural laborers have also been devastated. The houses in which they were living for the last many decades have been acquired by the Govt for this project, rendering them homeless. No compensation has been paid to them on the excuse that the land on which these houses were constructed was not in their name.
Total compensation package ranging from Rs. 23.23 lakhs to Rs.23.77 lakh per acre, including displacement allowances and no litigation incentive etc has been announced, which is very meager. The Govt is paying Rs. 23.77 lakhs per acre for 80 acres, Rs.23.54 lakhs for 560 acres and Rs. 23.23 lakhs for 166 acres to the landowners.
There is no provision for providing employment to the project affected families in the Rehabilitation Policy. In fact the Govt has not announced any Relief & Rehabilitation policy for these people. As already mentioned a considerable section of agriculturists families of the village (about 185) have turned landless or marginal farmers after the acquisition of their lands. They are not able to buy lands in adjoining villages at the rates on which their own lands have been acquired. So they are bound to suffer displacement & loss of livelihood.
About 40 percent of population of the village belongs to Scheduled Caste & Backward Classes. They were mainly dependent upon agricultural labor and allied professions for their livelihood. With the area under cultivation shrinking from 1458 acres to 652 acres, they will also loose livelihood and shall be forced to migrate to other places.
Fourteen families of poor agricultural laborers have lost their houses, without getting any compensation or relief.
There have been corruption & nepotism in awarding this power project, without calling open tenders, to a little known Poena Power Company, a subsidiary of Indiabulls Infrastructure, having very little or no experience in power sector. Various political parties have raised this issue and have demanded CBI Inquiry in the matter.
The process of land acquisition is also suspicious. Varying notifications have been issued at different stages with regard to the land to be acquired, without assigning any reason. [1,5]
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Land Acquisition Policy
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] State Congress slams Akali govt over land acquisition in Govindpura
[click to view]

[4] A year later, Gobindpura power plant work yet to begin
[click to view]

[5] Gobindpura, Punjab: Fact-finding Report on Land Acquisition by Poena Power Company -
[click to view]

[6] Punjab farmers suspend their agitation against land acquisition
[click to view]

[2] Forcible land acquisition in Punjab; Protestors arrested
[click to view]

[1] A Fact Finding Report On The Forced Land Acquisition And Repression At Gobindpura, Punjab : By Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Punjab Land Acquisition: Amarinder Stages Protest In Gobindpura (in Hindi)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update06/05/2014
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