Monday, August 30, 2010

NTPC`s Mouda power plant Public hearing disrupted-TIMES OF INDIA

Public hearing disrupted

NAGPUR: The public hearing on environmental clearance to 1,320 MW phase-II of NTPC`s Mouda power plant was disrupted by angry villagers over the central power giant allegedly providing misleading information. NTPC officials attempted to present their side but the angry protesters told them that they would not allow the second phase to come up at any cost and asked them to leave the hearing venue in Mouda.

When NTPC officials continued to explain their side, villagers rushed to the dais and ransacked it. This made the power officials leave. MLAs Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ashish Jaiswal and ex- MP Prakash Jadhav then took the mike and started raising slogans against the expansion proposal.

The public hearing completely went against the proposed expansion. Bawankule, Jaiswal, Jadhav, leader of opposition in NMC Vikas Thakre, environmentalists Sudhir Paliwal, Swanand Soni, Seema Sahu and Pradyumna Sahasrabhojanee, power expert RB Goenka, farmers` leader Kishor Tiwari and several others strongly opposed the expansion project on various grounds.

Not a single person spoke a word in favour of the power plant. This turned the villagers against NTPC. When Paliwal alleged that NTPC was misleading people of the area by not clubbing the emission of phase-I with phase-II to calculate pollution levels after execution of both phases, it was the last straw.

Earlier, Bawankule told NTPC without mixing words that he would not allow work on phase-II to start until the power company fulfilled all promises made regarding phase-I. The MLA also alleged that the draft environment impact report was prepared by NTPC without talking to any local resident and hence illegal.

Jaiswal told NTPC to set up power plants in Pune and Nashik as these places had no power plants in spite of high power consumption. He described 1,000 MW phase- I of Mouda as an all-party blunder.

RB Goenka claimed that phase-II was not needed at all as the state would have over 6,000 MW surplus power by 2013-14. Vidarbha, which was power surplus by 2,500 MW, would have 9,000 MW extra by then.

Sudhir Paliwal blasted NTPC for not providing information on several aspects of the power plant. He pointed out that a 12 to 13 km long railway line would have to be laid for transporting coal to the plant.

However, NTPC had not stated how much land would be required for it.

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