Controversy dogs power grid project

Tumakur: The cabling work of the Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) remains controversial because farmers complain that the three companies involved in the exercise have not followed a uniform system of compensating land owners who have given up their land for the project.

The project involves building a 765 KW network in the district. A total of 50 km has been done. The farmers are losing a total of 2800 acres of land for the project as a whole.

The three companies carrying out this project are L&T, Power Grid Corporation of India and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL). The farmers don't understand why the three corporations have adopted different yardsticks for compensating farmers giving up lands.

According to a central government directive, a piece of land which is a minimum of 85 X 67 square metres needs to be paid compensation and PGCI and KPTCL follow this rule. But L&T does not pay for more than 37 metres width. As a result, farmers have lost several lakhs compensation due to them.

L&T has undertaken the cabling from Kudligi to Vasanthapura central grid. For this purpose a tower 33 metres wide is being erected. For the cabling from Bidadi to Vasanthapura, the compensation being given to farmers is for 77 metres width.

The width being taken into consideration for paying compensations is based on the the radiation the power cable emits while transmitting high voltage electricity. A 400 KV DC line emits radiation upto 46 metres width. As a result the ground clearance has to be 46 metres or higher. Similarly, a 765 KV DC line needs a ground clearance of 67 metres. Farmers are demanding that 67 metre corridor should be made the standard for all compensations.

In Sira taluk, L&T is paying only for 33 metres width for a 765 KV DC line. According to central government and transmission committee guidelines the compensation has to be paid for 67 metre corridor. But this is not being followed by the MNC.

Farmers allege that the works are being carried on without a proper panchanama done by the revenue department, as it should be done. They allege that the MNC is carrying on with the work using police to intimidate the farmers. Even after repeated complaints, the DC has taken no action, they said.

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