Kodaibank (Giridih): Babulal Marandi, the former chief minister of Jharkhand supremo of Jharkhand Vikash Morcha (Prajatantrik), today claimed that Adani’s proposed power plant in Godda, Jharkhand, is a violation of Paris Climate Agreement 2015.
Godda Thermal Power threat to environment
The Godda Thermal Power Project of Adani Powers will be primarily using coal imported from Indonesia, South Africa and Australia. It is the high usage of coal for power generation that Babulal Marandi is averse to. The Paris Agreement aims at holding the rise in global temperature to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. “It further clearly states to develop a system which lowers greenhouse emission. Coal or fossil fuels emit maximum greenhouse gases when burnt. Is it not the thermal plant violating the agreement?” he questions.
According to Marandi, it’s not just environmental issues that the thermal plant has. He mentions, “This thermal plant of Adani will need a lot of water to produce electricity. According to estimates made, it may be equivalent to the water needed by the people of Godda, but Godda is not a water surplus, but water scarcity district. And often people have to face it.” According to him, the biggest issue is that the thermal plant will be producing power for Bangladesh.
Jharkhand’s pain will be Bangladesh’s gain
He then quickly questions, “Tell me, how justified is the government in taking away the lands of local farmers to set up this thermal plant which will not cater to the demand of the localities but that of Bangladesh?” He then adds, “In return, for facing all the adversities, the people of Godda will get to enjoy the pollution caused by this project.”
“The project is not feasible also as, after 20 years people will use only renewable energy, especially solar power than electricity. The largest power generation plant so far is NTPC, which generates electricity which is costlier than that of solar energy,” he said.
Marandi even challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to debate on the issue, “I challenge PM Modi to debate with me at Morahbadi Ground (Ranchi), on the benefits of Adani’s power plant for the people of Jharkhand.”
No compensation for land acquired
JVM (P)’s MLA Pradeep Yadav and several other people were imprisoned for opposing the power plant in Godda. Locals had also protested against the forceful acquisition of their land. But not much had been reported in the media.
Marandi also claimed that since independence, a large number of people in Jharkhand have been displaced because of establishment of public sector units, a trend which still continues. “In the last 70 years, 1400 lakh hectares land have been acquired for the formation of PSU leading to the displacement of thousands of people. These poor people were not even given proper compensation.”
He further points out, “Raghubar government has recently cancelled 2100 lakhs hectares of Gair Majrua lands and has transferred them to the land bank, which is being displayed to the corporate as land available in Jharkhand for business. However, it has not been surveyed how many people are living on these lands, and most of the people living with government and administration’s permission only.”
“In Deoghar itself, more than 100 families have been displaced and left to live without a roof over their head, for the construction of the airport. Recently, one of the displaced local has died out of cold,” Marandi alleged. He then adds, “Raghubar Das only works for corporates.”
Of corruption and Raghubar Das
During the interview, he also accused Jharkhand’s chief minister Raghubar Das of being deeply involved in corruption.
“The large-scale irregularities in mining lease, PWD tender and expense for advertisements will send minister and officers to jail if properly investigated. In fact, there should be CBI inquiry into these issues,” Marandi demands.
The JVM (P) chief also attacked Raghubar Das for not removing Rajbala Verma from the post of Chief Secretary. Verma has been sent reminders for more than 30 times by the CBI while investigating the multi-crore Fodder Scam, for alleged discrepancies in withdrawing money from Chaibasa treasury as the collector.
“I have told opposition leaders to stall the budget session of the assembly on the issue of Rajbala Verma only,” he reveals.
Marandi, who began his political career with BJP to become the CM and also a Union Minister, alleged that “In every act of Raghubar Das’ corruption, centre’s hand is in glove”.
The former chief minister of Jharkhand rues that reason for which Jharkhand was formed is yet to be fulfilled.
Where is Vikas?
“In last 17 years, Jharkhand has witnessed all kind of political experiments, right from having an independent CM to a non-tribal one. Now, it can also not be rued that no party has got a majority in the assembly. But if you want to get idea how much development (Vikash) took place in Jharkhand, see the government hospitals, neither block nor sadar hospitals are in good condition. The government schools are in bad condition, as the student-teacher ratio is very bad,” says Marandi, who was once a teacher.
“Residents of Jharkhand are unable to pursue B.Ed or engineering as they don’t have money to pay the tuition fees. In last three years, competent students, who cracked BIT Mesra’s engineering examination, were unable to take admission because of lack of money. About 20 seats remained vacant in the year 2015, 2016 and in 2017,” he adds.
Taking a final dig at the present CM of Jharkhand, he says, “The recent deaths due to starvation in Jharkhand are a proof of the development that the Raghubar government keeps claiming in its advertisements.”
As we wrap up, he is asked, on the possibility of getting into any political alliances for the forthcoming elections, he signs off by saying, “In the interest of Jharkhand, we can forge an alliance with any party, but BJP.”