Centre scraps tender for Cheyyur power plant

By Swathy R Iyer

Water is crucial for the fishing economy of Cheyyur

Water is crucial for the fishing economy of Cheyyur

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…)


Rains play havoc in fireworks sale

By S.Vishnhu Saaye

Chennai, 21 Oct: The sudden onset of the north-east rains has affected the sale of fireworks and crackers in Chennai, that have been stocked for the festival of Diwali. The price increase from last year is also proving to be a hindrance for sale of the crackers.

The climate poses a severe threat to the safety of crackers as there is a possibility of the crackers getting damp, without precautionary storage measures, shopkeepers claim.

S.Bharath, proprietor of Standard Fireworks shop near the Indra Nagar water tank, says, “I have made an initial investment of more than Rs.1 lakh, but have been able to recover only Rs.20,000 so far. Also, it is becoming a problem to store these crackers as rains may render them ineffective.”

He was also critical of the high tax for a firecracker license, which is not helped by the fall in sales. (more…)