NTPC transports coal dump to railway siding amid protest | Ranchi News

Hazaribag/Ranchi: The management of NTPC’s Pakri-Barwadih coal project in Hazaribag’s Barkagaon block on Wednesday began transporting their mined coal to the nearest railway siding under heavy police protection after a section of their coal dump caught fire on October 2 after being exposed to heat for more than 36 days.
Mining of coal and its transportation from the project has been stalled since September 1 as residents of the villages displaced and affected by the project’s land acquisition have been protesting for higher compensation, led by Barkagaon MLA Amba Prasad.
After the fire was detected by NTPC authorities on October 2, district administration intervened, Hazaribag DC Aditya Kumar Anand said. “Of the eight coal pits where the mined coal is stored before transportation, three caught fire as they were exposed to surface heat because they were lying in the open for a month as the agitation had stopped coal transportation entirely,” Anand added.
Alongside Hazaribag SP Karthik S, his counterparts from Koderma, Chatra and Ramgarh arrived at the project site around 7am on Wednesday with over 1,000 policemen to ensure that the 8,500-odd displaced people (raiyyats), who come from 17 panchayats, do not obstruct the transportation. The SPs from the nearby districts were pressed into action by DIG (North Chotanagpur) A V Homkar to avoid a flare-up similar to the one that happened in 2016, where police firing had killed four demonstrators.
“We had no other alternative as the fire, which had started in one of the coal pits, could potentially become disastrous for the locality, the project and the underground coal reserves,” DC Anand said.
As per estimates of NTPC, around 5.5 lakh metric ton of coal worth Rs 55 crore was lying in open pits since September 1 as locals blocked the transportation of mineral to its nearest railway siding in Banadag, which is situated 10km away.
The locals have been demanding compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 of the Centre and claimed that the monetary compensation provided by the NTPC under provisions of the Coal Bearing Act, 1957 is “not sufficient”.
In Ranchi, NTPC officials said the halting of mining and its transportation since September 1 has cost the PSU Rs 189 crore in terms of revenue. “The company has suffered an estimated loss in production of 9 lakh ton of coal in September as operations were halted since September 1 due to the locals’ agitation,” it said.
Pakri-Barwadih is one the four coal blocks allocated to NTPC in Hazaribag. Together, they are projected to produce 34MT coal which can produce 6,800MW of electricity.
Speaking about the alleged disparity in compensation, NTPC officials said, “In Pakri-Barwadih area, land is being acquired under CBA for mining and under the Land Acquisition Act for infrastructure, rehabilitation and resettlement. Compensation under the 2013 law is not applicable for the six phases of mining areas.”

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