Chennai, April 4
Chennai, April 4
4 April, 2014 — The 4000 MW Cheyyur coal power project has high potential to irreversibly damage the Odiyur Lagoon, destabilise fisheries and increase the vulnerability of the area to flooding events, according to a scientific study titled “Evaluation of the Waterbirds of Odiyur Lagoon – a Wetland near the proposed Cheyyur Power Plant” by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS). Releasing the report at a Press Conference today, Dr. Ravi Chellam, Vice President and Member of the Governing Council of the Bombay Natural History Society, said the study makes a strong case for relocating the power plant and captive port to an alternative location that is in compliance with the siting guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests. He urged the State and Central Governments to notify the Lagoon and its catchment as an Ecologically Sensitive Area under the Environment Protection Act and regulate activities to ensure the protection of local biodiversity, local livelihoods and the region’s hydrological functions. Continue reading
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.
The following is an earlier article and pertains to the MARG Swarnabhoomi project in Cheyyur and not the power plant. However, it is suspected that the push for the power plant and the land acquisition, including of additional land may all be related to a concerted real estate push in the region.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has, in its latest report, brought to light glaring irregularities in land deals involving SEZ properties in Chengalpattu and Cheyyur in Kancheepuram district.
In both SEZ properties, the CAG audit found that vacant land or land with constructed residential units were “sold” to private individuals under the guise of “lease” thereby helping the developers pocket an undue gain in the form of exemption of stamp duty and registration fees to the tune of Rs. 8.68 crores apart from other benefits such as exemption of VAT, CENVAT, Service Tax, Customs Duty and Income tax.
The CAG report for the year ending March 2012 which was tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday has also recommended to the government to take steps to set right the irregularities that resulted in violation of SEZ rules and to recover the undue benefits passed on to developers/co-developers of these properties.
18 January, 2013. PUNE — More than 64,000 MW, nearly 30 percent of India’s installed electricity generation capacity of 225000, is lost in inefficiency and leakages, according to Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle. Jayaraman is in Pune as part of the Vasundhara film festival that is being co-organised by Lokayat. Citing Government of India figures, he said that the India’s electricity sector is like a leaky bucket. At the current rate of leakage, the 32000 MW of capacity that is sought to be added through new nuclear power plants in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Fatehabad, Mithi Virdi, Kovvada and Chutka will disappear without a trace. Efficiency improvement measures can realistically save this 64,000 MW at a nominal cost of about Rs. 50 lakhs per MW. In contrast, nuclear power costs about Rs. 25 crores per MW and coal about Rs. 7 crores. Jayaraman, who is a writer from Chennai, questioned why the Government of India is keen on pouring more money into a leaking bucket while a cheaper and quicker option to bridge the deficit is readily available.
The losses referred to above are in the nature of Transmission and Distribution losses, and losses due to inefficiencies in the equipment used at the consumers’ end. According to a study by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Government of India, conservative measures to enhance efficiency of agricultural pumpsets, commercial and domestic lighting, air conditioning and refrigeration and industrial equipment can yield a savings of 19,000 MW.
Agricultural pumpsets, currently being subsidised at Rs. 10,500 crores by the Maharashtra Government, are horribly inefficient and medieval technologies. The Government of India study reports that Maharashtra’s 11 lakh pumpsets account for 17 percent of the state’s total electricity consumption. The pumpsets operate at a pathetically low efficiency of 25 to 35 percent. Improving the efficiency even modestly to 50 percent can yield savings of 1500 million units. Energy efficiency measures in agricultural, commercial, industrial and domestic consumption can easily free up 8000 million units of electricity a year. Further, reducing the State’s transmission and distribution losses from the current 22 percent to 5 percent – which is technically achievable – the state can save more than 12,000 million units. Taken together, efficiency enhancement measures alone can save more than 20,000 million units. That is more than the current deficit faced by the Government of Maharashtra.
Jayaraman said the Governments of Maharashtra and India must first plug the holes in their leaky electricity infrastructure and curb wasteful consumption. He pointed out that 40 crore people in India lacked access to electricity, while electricity was being wasted to illuminate flex banners in prominent city locations like the Nall Junction.
A resident of Panaiyur Periakuppam in Kancheepuram has moved the National Green Tribunal here challenging the Environment Clearance (EC) awarded recently to the proposed 4,000 Megawatt Ultra Mega Power Project in Cheyyur belonging to the Power Finance Corporation by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
This is the second case relating to the project now with the NGT. Last year, the same petitioner filed a petition against the EC provided by the ministry………Read more: http://newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/Cheyyur-plant-green-nod-challenged/2013/11/13/article1887805.ece