Coal Conveyor route surveyed with Police Intimidation

Cheyyur, 22 May, 2014: Nearly a hundred policemen were deployed today to prevent villagers from Vilambur and Panaiyur from blocking the survey of their orchards and homesteads to make way for a coal conveyor corridor linking the proposed coal jetty in Panaiyur village to the controversial 4000 MW ultra mega power plant in Cheyyur. An earlier attempt by the project proponents was aborted after villagers threatened direct action if surveyors entered their private property. The Government of India-owned Power Finance Corporation has floated a special purpose vehicle Coastal Tamil Nadu Polwer Ltd, which has obtained environmental clearances for the power plant and the port allegedly through fraudulent means. According to villagers, surveyors for CTNPL today entered private property and conducted survey under police protection.

The alignment for the crucial link -- namely, the coal conveyor corridor -- has not even been surveyed till date. Villagers say that they were unaware that their lands were part of the power project, and that none of them were invited for any public hearing. Neither has any Environmental Impact Assessment been conducted for the coal conveyor corridor.

The illegalities relating to the coal conveyor corridor are currently pending adjudication in the National Green Tribunal. Villagers said they had already approached the District Collector and the Police several months back seeking more information regarding the intent of the survey. They said they are disappointed that the State Government has betrayed them so soon after the elections, and used intimidation to take over their lands.

Reported by Nityanand Jayaraman, for