Mangaluru, Sep 19, 2019: The Adani Udupi Power Corporation Limited’s (Adani UPCL) plans of expansion of its power plant with two additional units of 800 MW has hit a snag at least for now as the expert committee of the Union Environment Ministry has told the company to first comply with the conditions laid down by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) only then resubmit it’s expansion proposals.
The company’s fresh proposal, came after three months of the NGT imposed Rs 5 crore penalty under ‘polluter pays principle’ and set aside previous clearance for expansion given in 2017.
The NGT had also told the company to carry out detailed studies of environmental impact assessment, carrying capacity and conduct a fresh public hearing before making any move related to the expansion. The Adani UPCL, however, made a fresh bid for expansion by submitting an application dated August 12.
The Expert Appraisal Committee on thermal projects, under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), deliberated on the issue last month and told the company to come back with the proposal after meeting the conditions laid down by the NGT.
The minutes of the committee’s meeting, made available, indicate its reluctance to consider the project in view of the NGT order.Additionally, the committee has sought a cumulative assessment of the entire plant (existing and proposed) and understand “near true representation of plume dispersions from flue gas”.
Balakrishna Shetty, executive president of the NGO Janajagrithi Samithi of Nandikur that took the company to the tribunal, said the committee should have rejected the proposal. “A detailed baseline study will prove the potential damage from the plant. We hope the state government will appoint a competent authority to assess the same,” he said.
Navin Chandra, chairman of the committee, however, said the committee’s mandate was to assess the environmental impact of a proposed project.
“The committee has deliberated on the project as per the rules,” he said. Shetty also questioned the need for the project at a time when Karnataka is already a power surplus
“Of the 728 acres proposed to be acquired in Santoor, Nandikur and Yellur villages, more than 90% of the land is agriculture land,” he alleged.