Sinlung /
31 July 2012

CBI Names 9 in Tuirial Project Chargesheet

Aizawl, Jul 31 : The CBI has named nine people in its chargesheet in the alleged compensation scam in Tuirial hydel project in Mizoram.

Sources said the premier investigation agency filed a chargesheet against nine people, including relatives of former Chief Minister Zoramthanga and officials, a few months back and the court has conducted a hearing in this regard.

Following a PIL filed by anti-corruption watchdog SOSA (Society for Social Action), Gauhati High Court in April 2010 ordered into the alleged compensation scam. The CBI investigation revealed that compensation to the tune of Rs 20,046,475 was paid to fictitious landowners.

There were 352 compensation claimants including the fictitious landowners. As many as 241 witnesses were interviewed during the investigation and about 110 documents were submitted to the court.

The Japanese government-funded 60 Tuirial hydropower project at Bilkhawtlir village in north Mizoram was abandoned in 2003 after a group of landowners in Bilkhawtlir claimed high rates of compensation for the land that the state government wished to acquire for the power plant.

The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco) and the Japanese Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund Bank, which was funding the project, objected to this.

The controversy over the payment of an "inflated amount of money" compelled Neepco to suspend the construction of the plant.

The then Mizo National Front ministry had been branded as the main culprit behind the compensation row that suspended the project as former chief minister Zoramthanga's relatives figured prominently among those who received compensations.

When Lal Thanhawla, who had laid the foundation stone during his previous tenure on September 12, 2007, came back in power, he took initiatives to revive the abandoned project.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had last year revised the project cost of the 60 MW Tuirial Hydro Electric Project (THEP) to Rs 913 crore due to delay in resumption of work.

The hydel project, designed to generate 60 MW of power 12 per cent of which would be shared by the state, is expected to be completed by 2014. The project envisaged the construction of a 77-metre-high earthen dam across Tuirial, a tributary of the Barak.

A surface power station on the left bank of the river at the toe of this dam would be constructed at Bilkhawthlir for generation of 60MW of power at 45 per cent load factor.


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