Bilaspur. NTPC plant in Sipat was supposed to lighten up lives, but people who gave up their land for it are now grappling with a dark future. Sipat's NTPC Power plant has gobbled up thousands of acres of land from seven villages of Kaudia, Janji, Sipat, Darrabhatha, Panthi, Raliya, Nawagaon, Gudi and Dhaniya. The poor villagers who gave up their land now realise that giving land to NTPC was a mistake. The promised jobs never materialised. Those who were protesting the setting up of this plant never wanted such a huge setup on farmlands. They did not wish for farmers' eviction, but NTPC gave false reassurances.
The surrounding area is also almost destroyed. The land left in the vicinity is no longer cultivable. Dust, smoke and ash are visible on all sides. There was never a possibility of many jobs in this supercritical technology plant, so initially, the private companies hired a lot of villagers for administrative work. Later, gradually these posts also came to an end as the companies finished their work. The villagers say that they want jobs in six-hundred-ninety-one positions, but the NTPC management is now shying away from giving jobs.
In this connection, a three-way dialogue took place on March 14 2020, with the villagers, NTPC management, and then Collector Sanjay Alang had said that the NTPC should provide jobs to the displaced in the remaining hundred-and-fifty-six posts. According to the villagers, NTPC had reserved jobs for Scheduled Tribes. When they raised this issue during the talks, Collector Sanjay Alang had clarified that if no Scheduled Tribes are displaced, then others should get jobs in their place. After this discussion, the villagers were hopeful that now they will get employment, but the management did nothing.
On Wednesday, villagers again protested in front of HR Gate and demanded that the displaced people should get jobs as soon as possible. The management has announced that the displaced can only get jobs on collector's orders. The then collector Alang has now become the commissioner, so the villagers will have to appeal to the new collector again. The villagers allege that NTPC management wants to keep the matter tangled. Collectors change every two-three years, and this trend has been going on for twenty years. The condition of these families has worsened in twenty years, now that there is no land for employment. Such families have faced a crisis of livelihood. Strangely, the families who have given their ancestral land have to wait twenty years for jobs. NTPC is making billions every year; it should remember the participation of the poor in the development of this plant.