Land Acquisition for Turga Storage Project in West Bengal Violates FRA

Reported by

Mitali BiswasLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Kudna

,

Barelhar, Ranga, Tadpania, Teliabhasa

Purulia

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Hydroelectric Project

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1600

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

292

ha

State

West Bengal

Sector

Power

In a significant ruling on July 2, 2019, the Calcutta High Court observed that the process adopted by the West Bengal government to acquire land for the 1,000-megawatt Turga Pumped Storage Project (TPSP) violated the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA). The court had earlier stayed the project in August 2018. The TPSP hydroelectric power project was proposed in 2017 for the storage and generation of electricity. The project required 292 hectares of forest land. The state Cabinet has already approved the project cost of INR 6,921.90 crore. Of this, INR 5,000 crore will be loaned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, with which the state signed an agreement on November 2, 2018. According to a report, the project could have likely caused the destruction of three lakh trees and put the livelihood of the residents of many nearby villages at stake. Local people-led Ajodhya Buru Bachao Andolan Samhati Mancha organised meetings in 2019 to assemble villagers, environmental activists, lawyers and civil society members to fight for the issue. According to the villagers, they did not give their consent for the project, which is mandatory as per the Forest Rights Act, 2006. At the same time, "in-principal" approval was issued without taking the process into consideration (see the court case attached). The company reportedly has two more projects in the pipeline, slated to come up on Bandu and Kanthaljola rivers. The villager's lawyer, Santanu Chakraborty, said that while they may have won this case, the state is likely to counter appeal and, therefore, they need to be prepared for what's coming next. In July 2019, the state government challenged the high court order before a division bench. The case was being heard as of February 2020.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

6922

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

292

ha

Starting Year

2017

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Refusal to give up land for the project

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

District Magistrate, Forest Department, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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