This week the Indian court system handed down three landmark energy rulings. While an ultimate decision still looms, the combined weight of these initial rulings reaffirms one thing — it’s time to diversify away from coal. Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin-guay/uncertainty-rising-costs_b_5737164.html
The Madras High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation filed by K. Saravanan challenging the acquisition of lands for the Cheyyur 4000 MW UMPP and captive power plant. The court ruled that the litigant was not a land-owner and that the acquisition proceedings had begun as early as in 2010. The ruling is not a setback to the campaign against the power plant. The merits of the case, including the allegation that the lands have been identified fraudulently, and that the proponent has denied the presence of ecologically sensitive areas within and around the project site are currently under review in the National Green Tribunal. More importantly, the documents filed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board as part of its defence in the PIL provides further evidence of the fraud committed in the selection of sites for power plant and port. The dismissal of the PIL (See links to articles below) has to be seen in this context.
Chennai, 26 July 2014: Public health experts and medical specialists met today to make visible the health costs of India’s pursuit of coal as the energy option of choice.
The Roundtable held in Chennai on the theme of “Climate Change and Health Impacts of Energy Choices – Coal” was organized by Coal and Health Initiative India a collaboration of Community Environmental Monitoring and Health Care Without Harm at Huma Specialists Hospitals & Research Center Pvt Ltd.
Proposals to generate more than 600,000 MW of electricity – 4 times India’s installed capacity – by burning coal are on the anvil in various states of India. Coal is seen as a cheap energy option for India. However, studies suggest in the US suggest that the health costs of coal derived electricity range between 62 billion and 523 billion dollars a year. The health costs of coal as an energy option do not feature in the energy policy decision-making in India. The Roundtable was organized to fill this gap.
The fine dust emission from a coal-fired power plant is not merely a local pollutant but can travel internationally. Dr. Sarath Guttikunda of Urban Emissions made a presentation highlighting the aspect of long distance pollution from coal fired plant.
Members from Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) – Pondicherry, Institute of Women and Child Welfare – Govt of Tamil Nadu, Department of Community Health – CMC Vellore, Catholic Health Association of India, Society for Community Health Awareness Research Action (SOCHARA), St. John’s Research Institute – Bangalore, St. John’s Medical College – Bangalore, Indian Journal for Public Health, Indian Institute of Public Health – Hyderabad, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (Tamil Nadu Chapter), Chennai Corporation and Doctor’s Association for Social Equality (DASE) attended the meeting.
Similar roundtables have been successfully conducted by National Coal & Health Initiatives in both Australia and South Africa over the past year. Coal & Health Initiative India proposes to organize series of similar roundtables across India leading up to the World Federation of Public Health Association’s triennial Congress to be held in Kolkata in February 2015.
For more details contact:
Divya Narayanan – email@example.com
By Soumo Ghosh
July 15, 2014 19:36 IST
Recent studies by Community Environmental Monitoring (CEM), a program by The Other Media, found that the Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) would exponentially contaminate local water bodies, irrigation systems and adversely affect the agriculture of the region.
Cheyyur is located around 100 kilometres from Chennai and about 50 kilometres from Puducherry, in Tamil Nadu. Hence, experts believe that this could also go on to adversely affect the water supply in the urban areas.
“Thermal power plants are water abusers. Krishnapatnam, in Nellore district, which was as water rich as Cheyyur is now starving for water,” said Shripad Dharmadhikari, a researcher on water and energy at Manthan Adhyayan Kendra. “Unfortunately, with coal-fired plants, Tamil Nadu will have to make a choice between water and electricity.”
A new study by Community Environmental Monitoring has shed light on the hydrological implications of the proposed 4000-MW Cheyyur thermal power project.
“Site selection for the power plant has completely ignored its impact on the surface water resources such as tanks and ponds and the interconnected network of streams,” said S. Janakarajan, one of the authors of the study, currently Professorial Associate at the Centre for Water and Development, SOAS, University of London, and president, South Asia Consortium for Inter-disciplinary Water Studies (SaciWATERs), Hyderabad.
The project proponents have failed to study the impacts of key components of the project such as a proposed 4-km road to the East Coast Road, a coal conveyor belt, a coal conveyor corridor, a stormwater drain and a 25-km railway line, on local drainage and flooding, the study finds.
PRESS RELEASE – 14 July, 2014, CHENNAI
The Cheyyur power project will damage water reserves, harm agriculture and interfere with local drainage routes leading to increased flooding in some areas and reduced rain water flow to vital irrigation tanks, according to a study titled “Hydrological Implications of the 4000 MW coal-fired Ultra Mega Power Project in Cheyyur, Tamil Nadu.” The report finds that the water bodies and water flows in the Cheyyur area render it unsuitable for hosting a large coal-fired power plant.
“Site selection for the power plant has completely ignored the project’s impacts on Cheyyur’s rich surface water resources such as eris (tanks) and ponds and the interconnected network of streams,” said Prof. S. Janakarajan, one of the authors of the study. Janakarajan works extensively on water management, and is currently mapping the water bodies of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, Tamil Nadu, as a part of the project funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
“Thermal power plants are water abusers. Krishnapatnam, in Nellore district, which was as water rich as Cheyyur is now starving for water,” said Shripad Dharmadhikari, an IIT-Bombay graduate who is currently researching the water-related impacts of coastal power plants in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. His organisation Manthan Adhyayan Kendra conducts research on water and energy. “Unfortunately, with coal-fired plants, Tamil Nadu will have to make a choice between water and electricity. Particularly in places like Cheyyur, you can’t have both,” he said.
“Not locating the project here keeps open the option of developing this area for its agriculture and hydrological potential. The network of irrigation tanks need to be maintained, not abandoned or diverted for other uses, if Tamil Nadu is interested in some long-term water security for its fast urbanising population,” the report concluded.
The study, which included computer modelling of rain water flows, found that the site for dumping toxic flyash is located upgradient of at least seven irrigation tanks with a command area of more than 5000 acres. Noting that the flyash will be mixed with seawater and transported to the ash dump in a slurry form, the report warns of salinisation of groundwater and surface water flows down-gradient of the ash pond.
Relying on RTI records from the Revenue Department, the report pointed out that the plant and ash pond sites enclose more than 150 acres of water bodies, including backwaters, streams and ponds.
The project proponents have failed to study the impacts of key components of the project – such as a proposed 4 km road to East Coast Road, a coal conveyor corridor, a storm water drain and a 25-km railway line – on local drainage and flooding, the study reports.
The study was conducted by Community Environmental Monitoring, a project of The Other Media, Prof. S. Janakarajan, Siddharth Hande and Nityanand Jayaraman.
For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401
Community Environmental Monitoring
92, Thiruvalluvar Nagar 3rd Cross, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090
Report can be downloaded from: https://cheyyur.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/report-cheyyur-hydrology.pdf
Thirty-nine scientists have written to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, seeking that the proposed 4,000-MW thermal power project be relocated from Cheyyur in Kancheepuram district, citing serious threats to the environment.
They have also demanded that the Cheyyur lagoon, and its catchments and drainage, be declared areas of conservation importance and given legal protection.
The former vice-chairman of the National Knowledge Commission, M. Bhargava, and scientists from prestigious organisations such as IITs’ and several Central universities are among the signatories.