Bhubaneswar: Water Initiatives Odisha has flayed the decision of the State Environment and Forest department to give nod to two coal-fired power plants in the two hottest places of Balangir and Subarnapur districts.
In a letter to the State Environment and Forest Minister, the forum convener Ranjan Panda said while the State Government has been boasting of its green initiatives on the World Environment Day, it has cared little while giving nod
to Sahara Thermal Power Plant at Titilagarh in Balangir and at Pitamahul in Subarnapur district.
“Perhaps you know it that thermal power plants are the highest Green House Gas (GHG) emitters and increase the local temperature in an area. These environmentally destructive plants are also water guzzlers and highly polluting. Despite knowing all that when your Ministry plans to go ahead with such plants in Titilagarh and Pitamahul, known as two hottest places in the State, don’t you think you are fuelling further heat?” Panda asked.
Panda further said that the Climate Change Action Plan of the Odisha Government recognises the fact that coal-fired power plants emit 68 per cent of all GHG of the State. It also recognises the fact that a large chunk of the State’s land is facing degradation and water erosion.
“However, the State Government proposes to generate 60,000 MW of thermal power in the coming decade emitting about 300 million tonne carbon per year. Most of these plants are coming up in areas already suffering widespread land degradation and water scarcity,” he rued.
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Sahara Thermal Power Plant says it will draw water from Tel river even as it does not show a water availability analysis of the river. Tel is a water starving river already. Similarly, Pitamahul of Subarnapur where already a public hearing has been conducted for a coal-fired power plant is another dry area. The plant proposes to draw water from Mahanadi which is already stressed due to the dependence of a large number of plants, he said.
Stating that the two plants are going to increase the heat in the two hottest places further, pollute the areas like anything and have adverse impact on land, water and forest, Panda said pushing through these plants is nothing but a mockery of the Climate Change Action Plan.
Panda further said while the National Green Tribunal has ordered that all proposed coal fired power plants must do a ‘radiation impact assessment’ along with the ‘environmental impact assessment’; no such assessments have been made in case of the two power plants.