A super critical coal thermal power plant, with a capacity of 1,600 megawatt, was proposed in Ramanathapuram district in 2011 by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO). The plant was approved by the state the same year. While TANGEDCO is the executing agency, it has contracted Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited for the Boiler, Turbine and Generators project; Larsen and Toubro for the sea water intake and outfall project; and Reliance Infrastructure to implement the remaining project activities.
The plant construction demands acquisition of agricultural and coastal land and proposes to draw sea water through an eight-kilometre pipeline, which would act as a coolant for the thermal unit.
In 2014, public consultation for the proposed project was held, in which individuals and members of various organisations, including the Coastal Action Network, an advocacy and research foundation, expressed their opposition to the construction of the power plant, citing potential damage to agricultural lands, fishing hamlets, mangrove forests and marine life in the Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve. They say land acquisition for the project will affect the livelihoods of both farmers and fisherfolk.
The project received clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in May 2016 and construction began in July that year. Community collectives - Anti-Uppur Thermal Power Station Struggle Committee and Anaithu Vivasayigal Paadhukappu Nala Sangam - protested to stall the construction. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court issued a stay order on the construction of the plant, citing that land for the project was acquired using defunct land laws and not according to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013. However, despite the stay order, in the beginning of 2018, a 1.25-kilometre stretch of the proposed pipeline was constructed, which led to further protests** **by the fishing community in June 2018. Land Conflict Watch got in touch with a member of the Ramanathapuram district fishing community workers union group (a unifying body for all the 119 fishing villages in the district) and with an environmentalist from Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental organisation, to gather insights about the ground situation. At present, project activities have been temporarily suspended following the stay order. TANGEDCO has appealed to the Supreme Court to consider the land acquired for the project as legal as construction has already started. The project completion date has now been revised to December 2020.
Stalling construction of Uppur thermal power plant
Forest and Non-Forest
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Land Acquisition Laws
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Non-implementation of land-reform laws , Use of old/outdated laws , Controversial land acquisition by the government
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Madras High Court, Supreme Court
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Reliance Infrastructure, Larsen and Toubro
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict: