The case against Adani Group’s power supply project in Bangladesh reaches Calcutta High Court

This case is filed by 30 farmers of Murshidabad and the APDR

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A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Calcutta High Court against Adani Group’s power supply project in Bangladesh. It was filed by 30 farmers of Murshidabad district and The Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), a Bengal-based civil rights group. The case was filed on Tuesday, January 31  and the expected date of hearing is February 07. 

The case was filed against Adani’s coal-based power project’s activities in Murshidabad district of middle Bengal, said General Secretary of APDR, Ranjit Sur. It has come at a time when the US-based financial fraud research firm Hindenburg Research has claimed that the Adani group had “perpetrated economic manipulation in the stock market for decades.” However, Sur said, the timing of the PIL – filed through a Calcutta advocate Jhuma Sen – is “merely coincidental.”

Following the report, the share prices of all companies of Adani Group in the stock market have fallen. The Group chief Gautam Adani’s personal wealth has also taken a beating. He has been moved from the third to the eleventh spot in the list of the richest people in the world.

The Adani Group has built a 1,600 MW power project in Jharkhand’s Godda district to deliver electricity from India to Bangladesh. This project is defined as an ‘ultra super critical coal-based power plant‘. Environmentalists in Jharkhand had previously raised questions about the plant.

According to the plan, the electricity cables from Godda will pass through several districts of North-West Bengal including Farakka in Murshidabad and Malda to finally enter Bangladesh. Adani’s Power Generation and Supply Company has planned to raise high-capacity electric lines over some of the villages in Farakka district. 

Eventually a major clash took place in Farakka in July 2022, when residents of Farakka’s Beniagram and Imamnagar village protested and managed to stop the project, at the time. According to the protesters, there were no prior discussions with them to lay high tension electric cables. Youth Congress leader Asif Iqbal led the protest. Some local leaders of Trinamool Congress also participated and harassed several workers of Adani Group, indicated district police. Some of the agitators were booked as well. 

One of the leaders of the protesting crowd Asif Iqbal, a youth Congress worker, earlier raised his concerns over the fact that high tension electrical wires passing over several houses made it almost impossible for the homeowners to build an extra storey of their respective houses. There has to be suitable compensation for this kind of a situation, he argued. 

According to the villagers, the Adani group has proposed to compensate only when houses have fallen under the cable. No compensation was offered to the owners of various mango and litchi gardens even though the wires were set between towers atop their farmland, argued local residents. 

Sur said that “from July 2022, preparations for the PIL began.” 

“The case was filed earlier this week. It has nothing to do with the Hindenburg Report. It is merely coincidental,” Sur told CJP. 

The agitation has stopped the installation of power lines in Farakka. However, even two weeks ago, agency workers came to cut down some of the trees in the project area. Sur said that the “villagers resisted the felling of the trees and workers engaged by Adani Group ran away.” However, following the July agitation, Adani’s company has completed the work substantially with police help.

Sur said that the Adani Group has neither signed an agreement with the Government of West Bengal, nor sought consent of the farmers, and planned unilaterally to raise high-tension electric lines purely by force. Towers were installed just by locally distributing some money.”

“The protesting farmers were framed by the police, fake allegations were made and cases were registered, they were severely beaten. We protested even in July and prepared for a legal battle,” he said. Adani Group has not made any statement so far. 

The Adani group is also planning to build a deep sea port at Tajpur in West Bengal’s East Medinipur district at a cost of around 25 thousand crore rupees. A few years ago in 2017, the farmers and residents of South 24 Parganas district protested against the installation of ‘high tension’ electricity in Bhangar. A few died in the movement. The work was delayed.


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