Published On : Mon, Apr 21st, 2014

VEAG to oppose yet another coal based power plant near Nagpur proposed by Reliance Power

Nagpur News : Vidarbha Industries Power Limited, a Reliance Group company is now proposing to set up yet another 3×300 MW i.e. 900 MW Coal based Power plant near Nagpur, at Village Parsodi, Taluka-Selu Distt., Wardha, the site is near Sindi Railway few kilometers from Butibori, where Reliance has already set up 600 MW power plant at Butibori MIDC. This plant was set up as group captive plant on the basis of bids invited by MIDC with sole intention to provide cheap power to industries in Butibori, however instead of supplying power to industries in MIDC, The VIPL, Butibori Plant is supplying power to Reliance Infrastructure Limited – Mumbai Distribution.

As the daily requirement for Mumbai region is over 4000 MW compared to 1200 MW of whole of Vidarbha. Most of the power plants in Vidarbha are supplying power to Western Maharashtra, where new power plants are opposed by strong lobby of Farmers, citizen and politicians. MSEDCL is already supplying 100 MW of power at rate of Rs 3.25 per unit whereas for Vidarbha where it is generated, its rates are more than double.

The proposal of VIPL for new 900 MW Power Plant will be considered By Ministry of Environment & Forest in the 15th Meeting Of The Re-Constituted Expert Appraisal Committee On Thermal Power & Coal Mine Project to be held on 24th & 25th April, 2014 at Delhi.

Vidarbha is already flooded with power plants, as per reports 132 new coal based power plants which will produce 86,407MW are proposed in Vidarbha .

Ironically, Vidarbha has always been power surplus region and now Maharashtra too is load shedding free as it has become a power surplus state. It is clear that the new power plants won’t cater to the state alone and will sell power to other states. Production capacity is already over 10,000 MW from existing plants in Vidarbha. District-wise break-up of 132 plants include 28 in Nagpur (17,070MW), 58 in Chandrapur (28,114MW), 16 in Bhandara and Gondia (22,035MW), 19 in Amravati and Yavatmal (13,845MW), 6 in Wardha (2,843MW), 3 in Gadchiroli (2,000MW) and 2 (expansion of Paras plant) in Akola (500MW).

The 132 plants will need around 1 lakh acre farm land and 3,600 mm3 water. With that much amount of water, 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”, approximately 1 Acre per MW of installed thermal capacity is required for ash disposal alone. Thus 80,000 Acres of fertile land will be required only for Ash disposal. Thousands of acres of agriculture land will be rendered useless as the soil will become toxic due to heavy metal contamination, mercury and Uranium. The ash slurry may flow in to water bodies and rivers making the water unfit for drinking. Vidarbha region will soon turn into an environmental graveyard.

Huge investment is being made for new transmission lines of 1200 kv lines from Vidarbha Power Plants to Mumbai- Pune region about 800 kms away. These lines are to be laid on fields of thousands of poor farmers causing severe environmental damage and destroying fertile land. It is estimated that over 90,000 acres of fertile agriculture land will be become unproductive and loose its commercial value due to laying of transmission lines.

All the new projects propose that there will be zero discharge of effluents. This is far from truth as the existing power plants at Koradi, Khaperkheda and Chandrapur are discharging thousands of cubic meters highly toxic ash laden water daily in drinking water rivers. Moreover the proposed ash ponds of these new power plants are being located near rivers which clearly indicate that ash will be discharged in rivers sometime in future. The goggle map of Chandrapur and Nagpur area clearly indicates that hundreds of acres of land is already filled with ash and the dust storm from the ash bunds has destroyed thousands of acres of fertile land.

It is also proposed that the 100% fly ash will be used for brick making and cement plants. This is impossible as existing power plants have failed to utilize even 10% of the 1,00,000 tons of fly ash generated every day. Such huge quantity of ash cannot be consumed for brick making or cement plant as all the demand of the region is already met by existing brick making units and cement plants. The fly ash, mercury, sulphur-di-oxde, oxides of Nitrogen, ozone, radioactive dust and other pollutants from the chimneys of existing Power Plants has already spread all over the Nagpur and Chandrapur region. Further power plants will cause irreparable damage to the Vidarbha region.

Generating power from coal is one of the major reasons for climate change. Gases containing Sulphur di oxide are a major source of ACID RAIN, the occurrence of which in Nagpur and other cities is already reported by Meteorological Department. Carbon Dioxide is one of the major pollutants that is emitted from a coal fired thermal power plant ‘CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated for most power plants in India is in the range of 0.8 to 1.2 kg per unit of electricity produced’.

The flue gases emitting from chimneys are at a temperature of 150 degrees centigrade, millions of cubic meters of gases at such high temperature will raise the ambient temperature of the region affecting micro meteorology. This will be disastrous to the ecology of Vidarbha if the weather is affected and Monsoons skips the region due to atmospheric temperature disturbances.

In last decade alone thousands of farmers have committed suicide in Vidarbha region mainly due to lack of irrigation facilities , now there is a hope as number of irrigation projects are under completion, but if the water meant for irrigation is diverted to power plants the incidence of suicides will increase and will turn into civic unrest leading to Naxalism.

The proposed power plant of Reliance will require water from Vadgaon dam which is already short of water. Non availability of water will adversely affect the irrigation, Butibori MIDC expansion and Mihan development.

Today the poor framer has no choice therefore all the power plant project proponents are happy as they are easily buying large tracts of fertile land at throw away prices, probably lowest in the country. But after 25 years when they abandon the plant after its life is over, the region would have turned into desert leaving no scope of reviving agriculture.

VEAG appeals to all concerned to strongly oppose proposal of Vidarbha Industries Power Limited, a Reliance Group company by sending objections to A.S. Lamba – Chairman, MOEF Environmental Appraisal Committee. e-mail: aslamba@rdiffmail.com and Dr. Saroj, – Member Secretary, EAC, Ministry of Environment and Forests New Delhi.E- mail: sarojmoef@yahoo.com.

Representational Pic

Representational Pic