Category Archives: News Coverage

‘Usable Coal to be Over in 15 yrs’

Despite India’s perceived abundance in coal reserves, usable coal will not last beyond 15 years, going by the rate at which it is being consumed in the country, warned former Union power secretary E A S Sarma here on Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a convention on the “Real Face of coal”, former Union Power Secretary E A S Sarma said that rational energy planning should shift the focus from creating new megawatts to saving megawatts in transmission and distribution. “Supply-oriented planning in energy, especially electricity, has outlived its time. Sooner we face this hard reality, the better it will be from the point of view of sustainability,” he said.

The Coal Mine Planning & Design Institute………..Read more: http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/Usable-Coal-to-be-Over-in-15-yrs/2014/02/23/article2072545.ece#.Uw8gWvmSwRE

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Plea to declare land acquisition for power project as illegal

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking to declare that the proceedings for identification of land and land acquisition for the 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Project and the captive port at Cheyyur in Kancheepuram district as illegal.

The petitioner, K.Saravanan of Ururkuppam, Besantnagar here, a fisherman, said the Tamil Nadu Government was currently acquiring lands for the power project and the captive port at Cheyyur.

The lands which were being acquired were not the ones that were selected for the project.

In the case of the captive port, land acquisition was being done at a site that was expressly rejected in favour of a different location that was found more suitable. As regards the power plant, lands in a survey numbers that were not even part of the site stated to be required were being acquired. Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/plea-to-declare-land-acquisition-for-power-project-as-illegal/article5701116.ece

Plea opposes land acquisition for Cheyyur thermal plant

CHENNAI: Citing “crippling irregularities” and “fraudulent methods” adopted for acquiring lands for a 4,000MW coal-fired ultra-mega thermal power plant at Cheyyur near Chennai, a PIL filed in the Madras high court has sought a stay on acquisition of land in seven villages on East Coast Road.

The first bench comprising acting Chief Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice K K Sasidharan on Monday issued notices to state and central governments, besides the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board and the Central Electricity Authority.

According to the PIL, the Kancheepuram district administration has been acquiring lands in Cheyyur, Vedal, Chittarkadu, Gangadevankuppam, Vilangadu, Kokkaranthangal and Panaiyur villages for the power plant and a captive port, though most of these lands lay outside the project area. The Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited, a subsidiary of the Power Finance Corporation, is the promoter of the plant.

While the coal-fired thermal plant and ash dyke are to come up in Cheyyur, a captive port to receive the imported coal for the power plant is to be set up in Panaiyur, the PIL said, adding, “The identification of the sites is fraught with illegalities.”

The PIL, filed by a fishing community member, K Saravanan, said these lands were not the ones originally identified for the project, and that at present land acquisition was being carried out at a site that was rejected in favour of a different location.

No committee either visited the spot for identification of the two sites, or submitted a feasibility report, he said, adding, “The clearance for the captive port as well as the power plant is under challenge before the National Green Tribunal (southern bench)”.

Noting that he was not against the power project in Tamil Nadu, Saravanan said coal-fired thermal power plants are ‘red’ category industries because of their inherently polluting nature.

Also, the captive port for the project is now proposed to be located in a site rejected by the site selection teams of the state government. Instead of Panaiyur, the team had selected Tharuthazhalaiyur to locate the port, he said.

The area between the villages which is being acquired for the captive port is covered with sand dunes and is eco-sensitive, the PIL said, adding, “This beachfront is used perennially for a range of fishing-related activities. Locating a port and a 3-lakh tonne coal storage yard at this location would harm the health of local communities, disrupt livelihoods and disturb the coastal ecology.”

HC orders issue of notices on plea against power plant

The Madras HC today ordered issue of notices to the Union Environment and Forests Ministry, Tamil Nadu’s Energy Department secretary and special thasildar of Ultra Mega Power Project in Kancheepuram on a plea seeking direction to withdraw proceedings for land acquisition for the 4000 MW project in Cheyyur and adjoining villages.

The petitioner, K Saravanan, also challenged acquiring of lands for a Captive Port in Cheyyur, Kancheepuram district.

He contended that clearance given for the Captive Port and UMPP were challenged before the National Green Tribunal, South Zone, on ecological grounds.

NGT had also issued interim orders not to finalise the award for bidders for the establishment of the port, he submitted.

The lands for the proposed the power plant was not visited by the Site Selection Team of the government, the petitioner submitted.

The First Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Sathish K Agnihotri and Justice K K Sasidharan, directed the authorities to file their reply within two weeks.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/hc-orders-issue-of-notices-on-plea-against-power-plant-114021800011_1.html

NGT seeks response from coal, power utilities on pollution

NGT seeks response from coal, power utilities on pollution

Nagpur: The National Green Tribunal has taken serious note of alarming pollution caused by thermal power plants in Vidarbha using inferior quality coal, in violation of Ministry of Environment and Forests’ norms.

A division bench of NGT, Western Zone bench, Pune comprising Justice V R Kingaonkar (judicial member) and Ajay A Deshpande (expert member) on Tuesday issued a notice to Maharashtra chief secretary, state energy department, environment department, Union Power and Coal Ministries, MoEF, MPCB, Coal India Limited and its subsidiary Western Coalfields and state run power utility Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MahaGenco) seeking a reply by March 19.

A PIL in this regard had been filed by Ratnadeep Rangari, a social worker and resident of Mahadula village near here charging coal and power utilities with flouting MoEF norms, polluting the air, poisoning the water and reducing Vidarbha to a gas chamber by not using clean coal technology.

This has put lives of about 20 million Vidarbhites in danger, the petition stated while urging NGT to direct coal and power utilities to follow MoEF notification and all other regulatory and supervisory institutions to ensure its compliance.

Quoting various news items, expert reports of Greenpeace, Prayas and parliamentary standing panel reports directing coal and power utilities to reduce pollution by adopting clean technology,  the petitioner cited expert opinion which blamed use of inferior coal for over one lakh premature deaths in coal bearing areas and in vicinity of power generating units.

As on date, coal-fired power plants run by MahaGenco are located at Khaparkheda, Koradi (both in Nagpur district), Chandrapur, Paras (Akola) in Vidarbha while various private players have proposed thermal power plants in Vidarbha with total estimated production level of 41,195 MW, which is tremendously high, the petition said.

The 132 plants will need around 1 lakh acre farm land and 3,600 cubic mm water, with which over 5.5 lakh hectare land can be irrigated. The proposed power plants will burn 18 lakh tonne coal per day turning “Vidarbha into an ash dump.” It will also lead to rise in temperatures by 3 to 4 degrees, the petition said.

Temperature in several key cities of Vidarbha region in normal course touches 48 degrees Celsius in peak summer. The entire Vidarbha region is on the brink of a disaster in waiting due to this grim scenario, petitioner’s counsel Arpit Ratan contended before NGT.

People in and around thermal power plants have always complained of massive black clouds, respiratory diseases and even spurt in cases of cancer, stated the petitioner, who himself resides in the vicinity of a power plant.

Citing latest notification issued by MoEF on January 2, 2014, the petitioner’s counsel told NGT that now coal and power utilities have been directed not to supply and use coal containing more than 34 per cent ash.

The MoEF notification has made it mandatory that “coal based thermal power plants shall be supplied with and shall use raw, or blended coal with ash content not exceeding 34 per cent,” the petitioner said.

The Central Pollution Control Board and MoEF have time and again directed all thermal plants across the country to utilise only clean technology to reduce pollution, the petitioner stated citing various reports.

MPCB had even issued show cause notice to various units of MahaGenco for using inferior quality of coal with high fly ash content and for exceeding air pollution levels. But barring this paper action, precious little has been done to save ecology and adopt cleaner technology, the petitioner claimed.

Blaming respondent authorities for leaving people of Vidarbha in a lurch and for abandoning a legally binding process of clean coal technology, the petitioner urged NGT not to allow these coal and power utilities to abandon coal benefication technology mandated as per law, and their petty disputes with private entities should not be accepted as an excuse to allow subversion of environmental law.

– See more at: http://freepressjournal.in/ngt-seeks-response-from-coal-power-utilities-on-pollution/#sthash.DucpwBbx.dpuf

Delay in Cheyyur plant execution leads to cost overrun

The delay in setting up of a 4000-megawatt (MW) Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) at Cheyyur in Kancheepuram district has resulted in a cost overrun of Rs.5,000 crore, according to the Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited (CTNPL).

The CTNPL, which is executing the project, submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Bench, which had last October restrained it from finalising bids for the execution of the project. Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/delay-in-cheyyur-plant-execution-leads-to-cost-overrun/article5667796.ece

Vedal farmers say No to Cheyyur Power Plant

29 January, 2014

More than 200 farmers from Vedal in Cheyyur taluka attended a hearing called for by the District Collector of Kanchipuram on 28 January, and unanimously conveyed their decision against land acquisition of their farmlands for setting up the 4000MW power plant. A similar meeting was held at 3 p.m. for farmers from Chittarkadu, Palaiyur and Thaneer Panthal.

Speaking to cheyyur.wordpress.com over phone, Vedal farmer Mani Mudaliar said the administration was unprepared to answer any of the questions raised by the farmers. Farmers pointed out that the lands originally identified by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for locating the plant did not have any agricultural lands. They alleged fraud in the manner in which the site has been changed to encompass fertile agricultural lands. Highlighting that the company’s environmental clearance itself states that more than 82 percent of the lands to be acquired for the power plant and toxic ash dump are private agricultural lands, the farmers said that the choice of site vitiates the Environment Ministry’s siting guidelines for coal-fired thermal power plants. The original site identified by a site selection team of the CEA pursuant to a visit in October 2006 comprised non-agricultural and non-forest lands spread over Cheyyur and Mudaliarkuppam villages. The current site is located in Vedal, Gangadevanuppam, Chittarkadu and Palaiyur village and is predominantly agricultural, and includes more than 100 acres of waterbodies, and about 40 acres of Reserve Forests.

The farmers also objected that the Government had violated due process by notifying compensation orders without even sending the “award copy” to individual land owners. Some pointed out that the project had been built on a bed of lies including statements to statutory authorities about the absence of waterbodies and migratory birds.

The District Collector said that the matter is in the Madras High Court and several other fora, and that the Government will now await the court order on the matter.

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman: 9444082401. Visit:cheyyur.wordpress.com