Published On : Sat, May 27th, 2023

Consumer activist opposes expansion of Koradi Power Plant due to pollution concerns

Nagpur-based activist raises questions about environmental impact and Mahagenco's failures
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Nagpur: Anil Wadpalliwar, a prominent consumer activist from Nagpur, has taken a strong stand against the proposed expansion of the Koradi power plant, citing concerns about worsening air pollution.

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Wadpalliwar has been fighting against the pollution caused by the existing Koradi and Khaparkheda power plants for several years, and he believes that the addition of two new 660 MW units at Koradi will only exacerbate the problem. Mahagenco, the state-run power generation company, has failed to address the activist’s numerous inquiries, further raising doubts about their ability to control pollution effectively.

Wadpalliwar has posed several important questions regarding the new units, questioning the decision-making process and the environmental impact. Firstly, he wonders why Mahagenco has chosen not to utilize the Patgowari site in Ramtek taluka, despite having received a positive report for a new power plant location there. Secondly, with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) planning to increase its solar capacity by 7,000 MW by December 2025, Wadpalliwar raises doubts about the necessity of the two additional units at Koradi.

Furthermore, Wadpalliwar questions Mahagenco’s failure to comply with the directives of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) regarding the installation of Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) systems on all three 660 MW units at the Koradi Thermal Power Station (KTPS). He also criticizes the company’s inability to ensure 100% fly-ash utilization at both KTPS and the Khaparkheda Thermal Power Station (TPS).

The activist also seeks clarity on the status of the proposed Dondaicha power plant and raises concerns about the lack of coal and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that have led to the inoperability of private power plants, such as the 1,350 MW RattanIndia plant in Sinnar (Nasik). Wadpalliwar questions the allocation of resources towards the new units instead of utilizing the available Gare Palma coal to support these stranded projects.

Notably, the expansion of the Koradi power plant is estimated to cost over Rs 10,000 crores. Critics argue that considering Koradi’s already saturated state and the delayed construction of the existing units due to agitation from local residents, this massive expenditure appears unwarranted. Moreover, given Mahagenco’s previous failures in controlling pollution from the existing thermal units at Koradi and Khaparkheda, Wadpalliwar questions their ability to ensure that the new units won’t contribute to further environmental degradation.

Ratnadeep Rangari, another activist based in Koradi, has filed a petition with the Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to enforce the use of clean coal at Koradi and Khaparkheda power plants. However, Mahagenco has disregarded the orders of the NGT, resulting in severe air pollution problems and subsequent suffering for local residents.

As the debate over the expansion of the Koradi power plant continues, the concerns raised by Anil Wadpalliwar and Ratnadeep Rangari underscore the urgent need for a thorough examination of the environmental impact and sustainability of such projects.