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Rejoinder: Assam solar power plant land purchase 'done in a lawful and fair manner'

Counterview Desk 

An email alert on behalf of Azure Power Global Limited, referring to the Counterview article dated May 3 with respect to the land acquisition done by Azure Power for a solar power plant project in Assam, has said that the High Court of Assam had issued direction to maintain status quo in respect of possession of land owned by Azure Power Forty Private Limited (“Azure Power”) at Mikir Bamuni vide orders passed on March 5, 2021 and March 23, 2021 in Writ Petition (WP) No. 753/ 2021 filed by Azure Power.
In a rejoinder advanced to Counterview, which published a Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) note on a fact-finding committee report on land acquisition for Azure Power's 15 MW solar power plant in Mikir Bamuni, Nagaon, the email alert said, land purchase for setting up the project was done “in a lawful and fair manner.”

Text:

Azure Power Forty Pvt Ltd., a subsidiary of Azure Power India Private Ltd., one of India’s leading solar power companies, through a statement in Nagaon today reiterated that the Company is fully compliant with the rules and regulations of the State regarding land purchase for setting up the Project at Assam. The land purchased for the 15MW Solar Power Plant in Mikir Bamuni, Nagaon was done in a lawful and fair manner. The project is a part of the largest solar power in the State of Assam and was awarded by Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL).
The Hon’ble High Court of Assam by orders dated March 05, 2021 and March 23, 2021, passed in Writ Petition WP (C) 753/2021 directs ‘Status quo’ to be maintained in respect of possession of the land in favour of Azure Power who had filed the said writ petition before the Hon’ble High Court for maintenance of law and order in respect of land in Azure Power’s possession in Mikir Bamuni. This order is in line with the earlier High Court Order dated September 30, 2020, passed in Review Petition No. 74/2020, in which the possession of project land was directed to be handed over to Azure Power.
Taking note of unscrupulous activities caused by certain miscreants on March 03, 2021 who had forcibly entered the Project Site and threatened the company people to stop work, the Hon’ble High Court vide order dated March 23, 2021 also directs the officials of District Administration to enforce the previous order dated March 05, 2021 of status quo in case of violation of the same. In order to safeguard the safety and security of its employees and workers which was under threat due to the March 03, 2021 incident, the Company also lodged an FIR.
Mr. D K Poddar, Azure Power Forty Private Limited’s Counsel said that:
“We have always maintained that procurement of land by Azure was in accordance with due process of law and no law was violated in this regard and that the High Court orders dated March 05, 2021 and March 23, 2021 in favour of Azure Power are a testament to that. In order to avoid any further delay in commissioning the solar plant, the project will be completed soon.”
He further commented that: 
“Previously, an order dated March 01, 2021 passed by the Hon’ble High Court in a Civil Revision Petition filed by one Mr. Bar Singh Kro, directing status quo to be maintained with respect to the suit property, was widely misinterpreted by the people to mean a stay on the possession of property by Azure. However, the High Court vide its later order dated March 17, 2021 disallowed status quo to be maintained thereby, indicating that the possession by Azure of suit property should not be disturbed”.

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