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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : NBA holds rally against Maheshwar project

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Tuesday, January 09, 2001


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NBA holds rally against Maheshwar project

By Our Staff Correspondent

BHOPAL, JAN. 8. The people affected by the Maheshwar hydro- electric project, being built on the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh, on Sunday took out a procession at Mandleshwar after the the withdrawal of the U.S. power utility Ogden from this project. It was also in protest against the `forces' of privatisation and globalisation.

The processionists led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan activists shouted slogans against the Maheshwar project. The villagers later joined a rally that ended with a resolve to fight against the dam work.

A large number of representatives from various trade unions and people's organisations from different parts of the country also joined the dam-affected people at Mandleshwar. They included, according to an NBA spokesperson, those from Kisan Adivasi Sangathan, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Ekta Parishad, Kasturbagram Mahila Ashram, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sanghat, and Bargi Bandh Visthapit Sangh. The U.S. power utility Ogden had signed a Memorandum of Intent in March last year during the U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton's India visit, to invest 49 per cent of the project equity.

However, NBA has claimed that by last month, Ogden had taken the decision to withdraw from the project.

It may be recalled, the NBA has said, that in the last four years, several power utilities from the U.S. and Germany, notably Pac Gen, Bayernwerk and VEW Energie had withdrawn from the project. In August last year, following a report on the status of the resettlement in the valley, the Rs. 530 crore tied loan from the private German bank- the HypoVereinsbank- also fell through.

The NBA leader, Mr. Alok Agarwal, said the average cost of electricity to be produced by this project is Rs.7 per unit and the cost of peaking power is Rs. 10 per unit -several times more than the cost of power being now produced by the MPEB.

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