Saintala: A solar power project proposed by the Aditya Birla Company has hit a hurdle with locals opposing it in Dunguripali area under Saintala block in Bolangir district.
Locals staged protests against the project, alleging that some political leaders and IDCO authorities have formed a nexus to hand over the pasture land to the company at throwaway price at Bhadra, Ghunsar and Kansar areas.
They alleged that 139 acres of pasture and gramya jungle land at Ghunsar and Kansar was handed over to the company in 2020. The company has set up its solar plant. Then tehsildar Suman Kishore Dung Dung has leased out the land for 99 years for Rs 1.55 crore.
They alleged that the administration had not held any gram sabha before handing over the land to the company. Though tehsildar Dung Dung has been transferred from this tehsil for a long time, but no records about the leased out land are available with the new tehsildar.
It was learnt from an RTI query. Similarly, the company is planning to set up another solar pant on 86 acres of pasture land in Dunguripalli panchayat. People using the pasture land in the area have protested such a move.
A group of people on behalf of the company had started a survey on the pasture land September 25. Locals then came to know about the land. They had opposed the move and detained some staff.
Locals have submitted a memorandum addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through tehsildar Jogeswar Bhoi. Locals warned of intensifying their agitation if no step is taken by the administration to stop handover of the pastureland to the company.
Opposition to this solar project has come at a time when the government is taking up several initiatives to enhance solar power production in the state. The state government aims to increase the solar power production capacity to 1500 MW by 2022.
The Green Energy Development Corporation (GEDCOL) has been working on a detailed roadmap for enhancing solar power production on a commercial basis and to adopt the latest technology for reducing the cost of production.