Birra Thermal Power Project
Birra power station, also known as Chhattisgarh Thermal Powerproject, is a proposed 1320 megawatt power station in Chhattisgarh, India.
The map below shows Birra village, the approximate location where the plant would be built.
The project is proposed by Hindustan Powerprojects, formerly Moser Baer Power & Infrastructures.  The company states that it is "actively pursuing various pre-developmental activities to achieve the planned Commercial Operation of this project by 2014."
In 2012 the India high court at Bilaspur annulled the acquisition of farmland, saying the acquisition of farmers' fertile land by the state government for private sector power companies is now an act in favor of public welfare, and that the land acquisition rules had not been followed during the acquisition process.
According to the company website in March 2015, it plans "to start the construction works immediately after financial closure is achieved."
However, there has been no developments on the project since the 2012 court decision, and plans appear to be deferred or abandoned.
Public hearing erupts into chaos
The Birra Thermal Power Project is in the Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh, an agricultural area where the state government has signed memoranda of understanding for 34 new thermal power plants totalling 34,000 MW, almost one-fourth of India's current thermal power capacity. Although the area lacks coal, it became a focal point for developers after neighboring Korba was listed as the fifth most polluted among the Critically Polluted Areas of India in 2009, leading the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to impose a moratorium on further environmental clearances. In an article entitled "Chhattisgarh: How to destroy a district," Prakhar Jain describes the following scene at a hearing to consider the Birra project:
- As loudspeakers announced the conclusion of the public hearing, the mob started hurling abuses. Company executives ran for their lives. A 100-strong contingent of sleepy policemen, watching the proceedings till then with disinterest, suddenly swung into action to ensure the safety of officials.
- The scene occurred at Birra village in the nondescript Janjgir-Champa district in Chhattisgarh on 22 September. The occasion was a public hearing for a 1,320 MW power plant proposed by Moser Baer.
- More than 1,000 people listened as one by one, the aggrieved presented their views. The crowd cheered when Puri Bai from Siladeh screamed that she won’t give her land at any cost. “Where would we and our children go?” she asked.
Sponsor: Hindustan Powerprojects, formerly Moser Baer Power & Infrastructures
Location: Birra village, Champa district, Chhattisgarh
Coordinates: 21.756471,82.782962 (approximate)
Nameplate capacity: 1320 MW (Units 1&2: 660 MW)
Projected in service: 2014
Estimated annual CO2:
Source of financing:
Permits and applications: Environmental Impact Assessment
Articles and Resources
- Moser Baer Power & Infrastructures, "Projects", Moser Baer Power & Infrastructures website, accessed November 2011.
- "HC annuls land acquisition for 4 power plants in Chhattisgarh," TNN, Sep 6, 2012.
- Moser Baer Power & Infrastructures, "Projects", Moser Baer Power & Infrastructures website, accessed March 2015.
- Prakhar Jain, "Chhattisgarh: How to destroy a district," Tehelka Magazine, January 21, 2012
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