Already facing the ire of villagers in Mukerian sub-division over its plans to set up a 1,320 MW thermal power plant near Hajipur town,the Punjab government will now have to contend with another major hurdle as it looks to pursue the project.
With the recent passage of the land acquisition Act,the cash-strapped state government will have to fork out increased compensation rates for the land it plans to acquire for the thermal plant.
As per the legislation,owners of the acquired land will end up with four times the market value if their property is in rural
areas and double in case of urban areas. The Punjab government has so far been paying landowners the market price plus an additional solatium of 30 per cent. A Power Corporation official said that nearly 1,000 acres land will be acquired from farmers of nearly 28 villages for the thermal plant. With the new compensation rates taking effect,the cash-strapped governments looks set to be faced with a huge bill.
Though a team led by the Chief Engineer,Thermal Civil Design,Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had visited Mukerian and land has been identified for acquisition,the government is yet to issue a notification for the process.
Officials of the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC),Railways,Punjab Pollution Control Board,Central
Water Commission,Irrigation and Forest and Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) have also visited some of the villages near Hajipur in Mukerian sub-division of Hoshiarpur district.
A senior PSPCL official,on the condition of anonymity,said that the project will be set up with 90 per cent aid from the Power Finance Corporation with PSCPL pitching in with the rest while state government will take care of the land acquisition process.