All set for public hearing of Bhadradri power plant today

All set for public hearing of Bhadradri power plant today
Highlights

All is set for the \'Public Hearing\' of the proposed 4X270 MW Bhadradri Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) near Manuguru which ran into trouble after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued the ex parte order last year staying the works on the plant following a petition filed by the Human Rights Forum (HRF) alleging absence of environmental clearances.

Manuguru (Khammam): All is set for the 'Public Hearing' of the proposed 4X270 MW Bhadradri Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) near Manuguru which ran into trouble after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued the ex parte order last year staying the works on the plant following a petition filed by the Human Rights Forum (HRF) alleging absence of environmental clearances.

The progress of the project has been stuck in limbo since a team of officials headed by MT Karuppiah from Chennai regional office of Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) visited the project site on January 9 amid a hue and cry raised by the environmental activists that TSGenco was going ahead with construction work despite the staying order issued by the NGT.

In his site report along with supporting documents addressed to MoEF&CC dated on January 11, 2016, Karuppiah observed that the project proponent had already commenced and is continuing the construction activities without obtaining prior environmental clearances from the MoEF&CC and the ‘Consent for Establishment’ from the state Pollution Control Board.

The main concern that was raised by the team was... existence of a water body within the project site and the project authority didn’t obtain fuel and water linkage, besides directions in regard with Air and Water Act from the MoEF&CC and TSPCB. It may be mentioned here that HRF moved the NGT to stop the ongoing works contending that the plant violates several environmental norms.

It appears that the problem was started after the government had opted for ready-for-installation units of sub-critical technology available with its contracting agency BHEL with a hope that it would get all clearances. This despite the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had already announced phasing out of sub-critical technology by 2019.

Against this backdrop, the State government has called for ‘Public Hearing’ on Thursday as per the Terms of Reference granted by the Central government for a study on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Speaking to The Hans India, HRF AP&TS General Secretary VS Krishna said: “Neither the Centre nor the State government has concern for the people living in the region as the project is expected to cause huge damage to environment.”

He said that it’s not possible to do the EIA with terms of reference granted to the State government. The government didn’t provide proper access to the information about the impact of the project before the public hearing where local people would be given a chance to air their views, he alleged.

Stating that they have ensured conducive atmosphere for the people to air their views frankly, the TSGenco Chairman and Managing Director (C&MD) D Prabhakar Rao said: “We are confident of getting a positive response in the Public Hearing.” The Chief Engineer of the project M Siddaiah said that arrangements were in place for the Public Hearing. The C&MD will be present at the project site during the ‘Public Hearing’ that starts at 10.30 am on Thursday.

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