Since 2017, the Larsen & Toubro (L&T) electrical company has been building new electrical towers and transmission lines as part of the expansion of the 765kilowatt AngulJharsuguda transmission line in Sambalpur district. Originally proposed in 2011 by the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), the project received permission in December 2016 for the clearance of some 461 hectares of forestland**. *The new electrical lines will help meet the electricity requirements across the southern power grid in Odisha, which has otherwise remained underpowered.
Under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, a company would pay the cost of damages caused to structures, crops or trees but would not compensate for the land acquired underneath the transmission lines. In an interview in August 2017, Sambalpur district subcollector Prasanna Das said that a compensation package for damages incurred for the AngulJharsuguda transmission line was being prepared for the villagers, which would be released before the scheduled construction of the transmission line* **on August 12, 2017. However, the compensation was not distributed by the time the construction began.
The village residents claim that L&T was forcefully laying electricity wires. When they confronted the officials, the police intervened and assaulted them. They also beat up a women from the village and locked her inside a police vehicle. She was later admitted to the hospital with severe injuries to her legs, back and chest. Her daughter was also assaulted by a member of the POWERGRID.
In September 2017, the Odisha government amended the Electricity Act of 2003 and passed a resolution that directs companies to now pay compensation for laying down transmission lines. As per the new guidelines, landholders are entitled to compensation for the loss of any land due to the laying of transmission lines, in addition to any damages incurred to crops, trees or existing structures on the land. On September 30, the affected people received a compensation package in excess of legal requirements after L&T officials met them. Following this resolution, work on the project resumed.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Demand for compensation
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Odisha Police; District Magistrate, Sambalpur
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, Larsen & Toubro (L&T India - Electrical & Automation)
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Aam Aadmi Party
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Other
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Non-payment of promised compensation, Incorrect estimation of compensation
Out of Court
Name(s) of Court(s)
Nature of Protest
Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media)
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Physical attack, Other harassment
Reported Details of the Violation:
In 2017, a family was assaulted by L&T company officials and their police escorts. When members of the PGCL arrived at Dhira Sahua's home to forcibly lay the transmission lines on her land, they beat her up and locked her inside a police vehicle. She was later admitted to the hospital, with severe injuries to her legs, back and chest. Her daughter was also assaulted by a member of the PGCL; Land seizure and crop destruction: According to a village resident, L&T seized three to four acres of his farmland to lay electrical wires, taking away his only source of livelihood.
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Loindamala, Sambalpur, Odisha
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
September 30, 2017
Why did the conflict end?
After a confrontation between the police and villagers in 2017, the Odisha government amended the Electricity Act of 2003 to provide compensation for land, in addition to compensation for damages on the land. L&T officials handed over the compensation to the affected villagers on September 30, after which the matter was resolved.