Campaign against Coal Based Thermal Power Plant project

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CHAMALAPURA VALLEY IN DANGER: A view / photo / picture of the valley around Chamalapura from atop the Malleshwara Betta. The valley faces danger, as a thermal power plant is likely to come up in the area.

Coal-based thermal power project likely to render a large number of families landless

CHAMALAPURA (Mysore District): A drive up Malleshwara Betta provides a bird's eye view of the valley below that is lush green with sugarcane fields and coconut trees.

The contours of Chamundi Hills are clearly visible from here. It is at a distance of 16 km as the crow flies. Towards southwest, you get a stunning view of the Western Ghats beyond which lies Wyanad on the one side and Kodagu on the other.

Within a radius of 35 km from Chamalapura is the pristine valley of Kodagu, and to its northeast is the tourist centre of Mysore that has been identified as the "least polluted" cities among Indian cities.

To the north of Chamalapura, over 2,000 elephants and other animals such as tigers and leopards and over 300 species of birds thrive in the jungles of Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks. In short, the region surrounding Chamalapura is a treasure trove of biodiversity apart from being endowed with a rich cultural heritage.

So it is not for nothing that Chamalapura is called "Kanasugarara Kanive" (dreamer's valley) in local parlance. But the Government is pushing ahead with a coal-based thermal power plant here. It says, "the proposed project site is situated in an area without any forest and has a thin population and minimum impact on the environment is expected."

The stage is set for another confrontation on the lines of Nandigrama in West Bengal, according to the people of Chamalapura who have vowed not to part with their land. "We will give up our lives but not our land" is their stand. The first of a series of public meetings planned against the project was held on Thursday in Chamalapura that is located in H.D. Kote taluk.

The people of Chamalapura have been kept in the dark about the project that will provide power to distant Bangalore. The Government's Expression of Interest from power-generating companies has drawn response from 30 companies, including Tata Power, Reliance Energy, NTPC and Lanco. The proposed power project is to be built on public-private partnership and will require 3,000 acres of land that will be acquired from farmers.

The project is likely to affect more than 20,000 people who will be rendered landless. It has major environmental and cultural ramifications over which there has been no debate, and the Government has not conducted any public hearing nor has it carried out the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The project requires not less than a million litres of water a day, which will be drawn from the Kabini, and over 600 tonnes of coal to operate the plant.

The environmental impact of the project is enormous as the valley surrounding Chamalapura is a catchment area for the Cauvery and the Kabini. The slurry from the thermal plant and tonnes of coal used to fuel the plant in open yards will pollute the rivers and jeopardise the existence of thousands of people living in the downstream of the two rivers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The southwest monsoon winds from here drive clouds towards Mysore and the discharge of fly ash from the power plant will result in acid rain.

While the Government is trying to promote the project, the negative impact on wildlife, flora and fauna, the rivers and lakhs of people within the vicinity including Mysore city, which is a tourist paradise seems to have been ignored. The public is waking up to the grim reality.

People ready for struggle against thermal power plant

500 attend the first public meeting against the project

Threat to environment: Former Minister M. Shivanna and people of Chamalapura and surrounding villages atop the Malleshwara Betta on Thursday surveying the valley below where a thermal power plant is to be established.

MYSORE: Battle lines have been drawn and the people are ready for a long-drawn struggle against the proposed coal-based thermal power plant at Chamalapura, about 30 km from Mysore.

More than 500 people attended the first of a series of public meetings and apprised themselves of the perils of the power plant and vowed to fight and defend their land at all costs. "We will give up our life but not our land" was the general refrain of the people of Chamalapura and surrounding villages.

The project needs over 3,000 acres of land and 20,000 people will be directly affected, as they will be evicted from the region. While farmers are concerned about their survival, the project has larger implications that will affect lakhs of people living in the Cauvery and Kabini valleys.

For, the commissioning of Chamalapura thermal power plant fuelled by coal may alter the scene irretrievably not only for Mysore district, but the entire Western Ghats region and beyond, according to experts who are apprehensive about the project.

Pointing out the various possibilities and consequences of the thermal power plant at Chamalapura, they said it would be unmitigated disaster for the region. It was pointed out that worldwide, there is widespread opposition to coal-based thermal power plants as they are the principle agents that contribute to the deposition of sulphuric and nitrogen compounds that are deposited in vast quantity in the atmosphere.

The fly ash that is generated in the thermal plants and released into the air has a very high temperature and when it is carried by wind and spreads over a radius of 100 km and more the ambient temperature of the surrounding region rises to alter the local climatic conditions and Mysore region may become a furnace during summer, according to environmentalists.

Again, the ash and carbon deposited in the atmosphere mingles with water vapour and comes down in the form of acid rain during monsoon. In the process, rain water harvesting which is being promoted as a panacea for drinking water scarcity, will have to be abandoned as acid rain will make it unfit for consumption. The 3,000-acre land required for the plant will also include large tracts of forests that will be used to dump coal. The run offs during rainy season will flow into the rivers and fields and destroy the ecosystem of the Cauvery and Kabini valleys and the surrounding forests of Bandipur and Nagarahole.

It is pertinent to note that 47 thermal power stations were blacklisted by the Government in China for not confirming with the environmental regulations.

But despite apprehensions, there is little by way of information about the project in public domain on Chamalapura.

Meanwhile, a senior Government official confided that apart from 3,000 acres of land, the project proponents may also acquire about 800 acres of forests.

Villagers protest Chamalapura thermal project

Mysore, June 19: As many as 1,000 villagers, including women, today took out a silent march to protest against the proposed Rs 5,500 crore Chamalapura Thermal Power Plant project, near here.

Addressing the protestors, the former Minister M Shivanna said they should be ready to sacrifice their lives but not their fertile lands. Maintaining that he was not against the project, he urged the government to set up the project in a barren area and not on cultivated lands.

Chamalapura project: indefinite fast planned from July 5

The coal-based plant is redundant in an age when concerns are being expressed over the disaster called global warming contributed to by the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon-di-oxide that coal-based power plants emit in large quantities.

Sanctuary Asia - Campaign

Coal based thermal power plants affect the air quality of the surrounding region

Emissions from Coal Fired Thermal Power Plants in India

Environmental impact of coal industry and thermal power plants in India

Influence of coal based thermal power plants on aerosol optical properties in the Indo-Gangetic basin

http://www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia/1412/articles-70482_paper.pdf

Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)

Environmental Clearance

Forests Clearance [ under Forests (Conservation) Act, 1980 ]

FLY ASH NOTIFIACTION

http://envfor.nic.in/legis/513e.doc

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification - 2006

Conclusion: We the undersigned request that the coal based thermal power plant project be abandoned as the State Government has neither conducted any public hearing nor has it carried out the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).