Farmers oppose land acquisition for Edamon-Kochi power line in Kerala

Reported by

Dr. K.H. Amitha BachanLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 22, 2021

Location of Conflict

Pambadi

,

Kottayam

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Transmission Lines

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1824

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

State

Kerala

Sector

Power

In 2013, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) board members signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for sourcing electricity from the Kudankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP). A 400KV transmission line was planned from Kudamkulam nuclear power plant in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu to Kochi in Kerala. Earlier, in 2004, the Ministry of Power had authorized Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) to undertake the implementation of the transmission system to neighbouring states in pursuance of section 68 of the Electricity Act, 2003. While different transmission lines had been proposed, the Edmon to Kochi line has been facing severe protests over the Right of Way (RoW) issues, protests and objections over the compensation from land owners even before the 2013 agreement. The Edamon-Cochin 400 kV DC transmission system, passes through four districts -- Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts in Kerala. The major opposition is from the residents of Kottayam district, many of them are rubber planters. 140 Tower stations have been planned in the district alone. Though the work for setting up the power lines began in 2004, due to stiff opposition from the affected persons only 88 tower points could be located and out of them only the foundations of eight were completed by 2017.
Since 2009, the state government had been taking offers to resolve the Right of Way issues with land owners by providing them increased compensation. In 2009, they approved compensation for the loss of plants and trees caused at the tower location in paddy fields, garden lands and rubber plantations as 20-50% of the land price, which will be finalized by the concerned District Collectors. In 2010, they enhanced the compensation to 40-70% of land area for paddy fields, garden lands and rubber plantations. In 2014, PGCIL filed a writ petition before the Kerala high court against the special compensation packages by the State Government over the financial liability of the package. Subsequently, State Government in 2015 evolved a detailed Special Compensation Package wherein it is decided that the entire liability on account of the revised Special Compensation Package will be shared between the State Government and KSEB Ltd.  In March 2017,the Left Democratic Front  Government increased the compensation amount from INR 341 crores to 1020 crores to resolve the grievances of people. The discussions were held by the peoples representatives with the affected persons in places where there were issues and slowly the opposition has died out in Kottayam district. The construction is currently in progress.  As on 2019, 436 tower foundations have been completed out of a total of 447 locations and 103.3 km line stringing out of 148km has been completed. In 2019, the Kerala State Electricity regulatory commission which is deciding on the Edamon - Kochi Compensation package ordered the KSEB to adopt and implement the 2015 special package. In November 2019, the transmission line called as "power highway" between Edamon and Kochi was inaugurated. The Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, while inaugurating said that the Edamon-Kochi Power Highway project has been completed by providing adequate compensation to those who lost their land. The government was able to convince those who initially opposed the project.

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Private

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

10000

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

1

ha

Starting Year

2013

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for more compensation than promised

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Kerala State Electricity Board, Revenue Department

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

National Power Grid Coorporation, India, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Koodamkulam Action Council

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

November, 2019

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

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