Ten days after the Andhra government decided to cancel land allotment for the controversial Sompeta power plant, it issued orders on Wednesday permitting the company to use the land for the development of an industry zone.
The 972.69 acres of land was originally allotted to Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited (NCC) in 2008 to set up a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Sompeta in Srikakulam district.
However, fishermen and farmers had been opposing the project on the ground that it will snatch their livelihood.
Environmentalists were also opposing the project as it was coming up on a wetland.
Three people were killed in 2010 when police opened fire on agitating fishermen and farmers.
The cancellation of the project was one of the key poll promises that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had made during the campaign last year.
However, the government has now handed over the land to the same developer and granted permission to develop the land parcel as an industry zone in three years.
"This is a clear deviation of the SEZ and land allotment rules...If the land is given to the same management for another use, what would be the punishment for delay and noncompliance of the agreement?" a senior government official told the Times of India.
The TOI report also adds that the land was allotted at the 2008 price of Rs 80,000 per acre, without taking present market rates into consideration.