The union environment ministry has deferred its decision to grant environment clearance to replace gas with low sulphur and low ash imported coal as part of the modernisation of the 500 megawatt unit 6 of Tata Power Company’s Trombay thermal power station.
According to the minutes of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for thermal projects, the proposal will be reconsidered after Tata Power Company, the project proponent, submits a compliance report to the observations made by the committee.
“While the present modernisation proposal will be environmentally better as compared to oil-fired power generation, the project proponent needs to address the issues of environmental impact because of coal transportation both inland and at sea,” stated the committee.
An area of 0.71 hectare comprising about 520 mangroves will be cleared to help better cooling of sea water, which will be used in the proposed process.
The committee has now asked Tata Power to submit an action plan on the identification of degraded mangrove sites and regenerate the coastal vegetation within 10kms radius of the plant.
In January, the state pollution control board had halted the public hearing for the Rs1,174 crore modernisation plan proposal following a ruckus created by various political parties who also unanimously opposed the plan.
“The EAC seems to be bending over backwards to clear the project.
Where have the support letters come from if not one spoke in favour of the project during the public hearing,” said Debi Goenka of the Conservation Action Trust.
The EAC asked Tata Power to give Goenka a copy of the response on the issues he has raised.
“The minutes of the meeting reflects the discussion taken place between MoEF and Tata Power officials. The Company is studying the same and will take all necessary steps to address it,” said a Tata Power spokesperson.