Enron launches propaganda blitz to counter protests

Vol 5, PW 2 (14 Mar 01) Midstream & Downstream

Enron's Dabhol Power Company has launched a propaganda blitz to counter protests that have erupted across the state.

"The power of propaganda has a new tariff and it holds the people of Maharashtra to ransom," reads one of a series of anti-Dabhol advertisements released to Mumbai newspapers. The advert uses a photograph of a soapbox orator with clenched fists and clenched teeth to send out its message.

Dabhol Power hit back on March 2nd by bussing 20 Mumbai-based journalists to Dabhol to "demonstrate that work is on schedule for Phase II" despite protests by Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh that the state no longer needs power from Phase II. An Enron spokesman tells Petrowatch that work on Phase II is on schedule.

"85% of the civil construction work is complete and 95% of the equipment is in place," he said. "Testing of turbines for block B of Phase II has already started." He said by July both phases could run on naphtha.

On March 1st meanwhile, protestors observed "anti-Enron day." Some 2,000 protesters led by a top functionary of the state's ruling coalition were arrested after they stormed a barricade outside the power plant. On April 7th there will be a public meeting in Mumbai, and on April 13th residents of 85 villages around Dabhol will hold a protest meeting outside the power plant gate.