Land owners oppose plan to divest Doyang Hydro-Electric Plant

DIMAPUR, NOV 9 (NPN) | Publish Date: 11/9/2021 1:47:20 PM IST

Reacting to the state-run NTPC drawing a Rs 15,000 crore divestment plan to list North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Limited, which runs Doyang Hydro-Electric Plant (DHEP), by March 2024, the Land Owners’ Union (LOU), DHEP has appealed to the state government to impress upon the Centre against selling/divestment of DHEP to any private entities. PTI had recently reported that the Rs 15,000 crore divestment plan was as per agreed targets of performance set by the NTPC with the Ministry of Power.

In a press release, LOU DHEP president Rhanbemo Odyuo and general secretary P Roland Ezung stated that NEEPCO Ltd., Government of Nagaland and the land owners of the area signed tripartite agreement for setting up Doyang Hydro-Electric Plant over the river Doyang during the early 1980s.
Accordingly, the union said that DHEP was commissioned in 2000 and dedicated to the nation on March 2, 2002.
LOU said that the Centre divested 100% share of NEEPCO LTD to NTPC Ltd for an amount of Rs.4000 crore in 2020 without the knowledge and consent of Government of Nagaland and the stakeholders of DHEP. It said that the Centre’s “unilateral decision” clearly violated the agreement signed between the three parties (Government of Nagaland, NEEPCO LTD and the Land Owners’ Union, DHEP) for a period of 99 years lease.
The union also pointed out that the state government and the land owners had a number of negotiations to arrive at setting up of DHEP and handed over to NEEPCO Ltd by the 17 land affected villages through an agreement of land acquisition signed on February 28, 1984 with an area of 8,420.41 acres of land. 
It said that the land affected villages of DHEP had agreed to part with their cultivable land solely for the development of power project of NEEPCO Ltd, (Government of India enterprise) and not to any corporation or private agencies.
The union said that “such drastic and adverse policy of disinvestment and privatization” of NEEPCO Ltd by NTPC Limited would directly impinge on the rights, privileges, employment opportunities and other benefits that were offered to the land affected populace in lieu of the thousands of acres of land handed over by the affected land owners for the construction of power project.
Further, the union pointed out that currently the appointment and engagement of local employees of the DHEP were mainly as a compensatory appointment against the loss of their cultivable land for construction and establishment of Doyang project. It said that the land and its resources were the inalienable rights of the local people as envisaged under Article 371 A. 
The union has, therefore, asserted that the disinvestment policy enunciated by the NTPC Ltd would impinge on the rights as guaranteed by Article 371 A.
In order to safeguard the signed agreement and the ‘rights’ and ‘welfare’ of the land affected villages, the union has strongly demanded withdrawal of the disinvestment/privatization of DHEP to any private entities by NTPC Ltd., which it said was against the interest and breach of trust with 17 land affected villages of DHEP by NEEPCO Ltd. and government of Nagaland.

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