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Adani Godda Power Plant: When will farmers receive full compensation?

While the Hindenburg Research report on the alleged financial irregularities related to the Adani group is being discussed widely, farmers in Godda in Jharkhand have reportedly been waiting for full compensation after their lands were acquired by Adani Power Limited (APL) to construct the Adani Godda coal power plant.

By The Probe team
New Update

publive-image Power Plant | Representative image | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement

The Godda coal power plant is spread across ten villages of the Godda district in Jharkhand. On 6 June 2015, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and Adani Power Limited (APL) announced a cross-border trade of 1600 MW of power from India to Bangladesh. Following this, the BPDB and APL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 11 August 2015 to build a coal power plant on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis.

However, many farmers in the Godda district have alleged that they have yet to receive full compensation as assured by the Adani group after their lands were acquired for the power plant construction. In February 2016, APL signed an agreement with the Jharkhand government to construct the power plant. Under this agreement, Jharkhand would get only 25 per cent of the power plant's generated power.

A report on the alleged irregularities, implications and impact of the Adani Godda coal power plant was released by the Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED) and Growthwatch in June 2022. BWGED is a civil society group that works on energy, human rights and natural resources in Bangladesh, and Growthwatch is an India-based voluntary research and advocacy group.

The report stated that “Adani Power Limited had acquired 1255 acres of land from the local farmers by force and without payment of proper compensation. The company also tortured the poor landowners by using musclemen and law enforcing agencies… The environmental and social cost of the emissions of hazardous air pollutants and carbon dioxide is USD 729.64 million (INR 5569.34 crore) per year and USD 24.72 billion (INR 188,808.29 crore) over its lifetime.”

The report also states that as the Government of Bangladesh is not in a position to cancel the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) unilaterally, therefore the government of India must cancel the Adani Godda coal power plant to protect the indigenous and affected communities from the consequences of emission and pollution and try APL for human rights violation and forceful acquisition of land and other natural resources.

Amongst other recommendations, the report notes: “The government of India must compensate the affected indigenous people with the same size and quality of land and other resources they lost to the Godda coal power plant. The government must withdraw all false court cases filed against the affected communities and human rights defenders and must impose a carbon tax on the Adani Godda coal power plant at a rate defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other UN agencies. The government should also force APL to provide financial resources and environmental and social damage compensation, which is not less than the estimation of the independent scientific and economic research findings.”

Adani’s power plant in Godda in Jharkhand will have a capacity of 1600 MW and is set up under Adani Power Limited’s subsidiary Adani Power (Jharkhand) Limited. According to Adani group’s website, as of December 2022: “Unit-1 (800 MW) has been synchronised with the Bangladesh power grid. It is available for generation at full capacity and will generate power based on advice from Bangladesh authorities. The Hydro test of Unit-2 boiler has been completed. Preparation for steam blowing and synchronisation is under progress.”

publive-image Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani’s meeting with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina | Photo courtesy: @gautam_adani | Twitter

In September last year, after meeting Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in Delhi, the Chairman of the Adani Group, Gautam Adani, tweeted: “It is an honour to have met the honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in Delhi. Her vision for Bangladesh is inspirational and stunningly bold. We are committed to commissioning our 1600 MW Godda Power Project and dedicated transmission line to Bangladesh by Bijoy Dibosh, 16 Dec 2022.”

However, if media reports are to be believed, the Commercial Operations Date (COD) of Adani group’s Godda power plant is likely to be further delayed as Bangladesh has expressed concerns over the “excessive” pricing of the coal that would be used in the plant. While the Godda power plant is in the midst of serious allegations, many farmers in the district continue to wait for their assured compensation.