By Swathy R Iyer
Chennai: Since the Expert Appraisal Committee gave the green signal to the 4000 MW coal fired power plant project in Cheyyur, activists and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), working closely with the communities in the lagoon, have protested severely and have found many eco sensitive areas and sites of historical and archeaeological importance in the land acquired for the project.
According to independent journalist and activist Nityanand Jayaraman, the Environmental Impact Assessment report for the project was ‘fraudulent’ and ‘incomplete’. He works with the NGO Community Environment Monitoring which brought out a report- Science, Non-Science and the Dubious Role of ‘Experts’ in Environmental Due Diligence: A case study of Cheyyur UMPP- in July last year, which highlighted the misrepresentations made in the EIA brought out by the project proponent Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Ltd. (CNTPL).
The Centre, last month, scrapped the tender for the Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) after the country’s major thermal power producer NTPC emerged as the only bidder.
All the private companies who were present for the first round of bidding soon withdrew their bids due to a cited insufficiency of funds. The bidding process was set in motion after the Madras High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in August last year, against the land acquisition for the project.
An ash dyke and a captive port were also to be constructed with the coastal power plant. The PIL said that land acquisition was being carried out in sites which were earlier rejected and that the project reports did not include the implications of land acquisition for the captive port which would be located at Panaiyur, 5 kms from the proposed power plant.
The petitioner, K.Saravanan had pointed out that the area which was now being acquired to construct the captive port was covered with sand dunes and could hence be classified as ‘eco-sensitive’. (more…)