Pollution, health fears fuel protests at Tata power plant
Politicos oppose plant’s plans to convert a unit from gas to coal; public hearing halted.mumbai Updated: Jan 16, 2013 01:03 IST
The public hearing for Tata Power Company’s proposal to replace gas with coal at unit 6 of the Trombay Thermal Power Station was halted on Tuesday afternoon by the state pollution control board following a ruckus created by various political parties that opposed the plan. They claimed that a conversion to coal will pollute the environment and affect the health of residents.
As part of the modernisation plan, the company will invest Rs. 1,174 crore and use low sulphur and low ash imported coal for its 500 megawatt unit 6. At present, units 5 and 7 run on coal. The company has stated that it will use appropriate polllution control equipment such as Electro Static Precipitators (ESPs) and Flue Gas Desulfurisation (FGD) to maintain emissions at the current and controlled levels.
With Chembur known as a gas chamber as it houses Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Rashtriya Chemical Fertilisers, representatives of various political parties spoke of how fly ash will spread even to Ghatkopar and Vikhroli apart from Chembur.
“When a project needs approval, a company always says that there will be no impact and everything will be taken care of. But nothing is done once the plant comes up,” said Raja Chowgule, a chemical engineer and a corporator. “There are efforts world over to discard coal because it is polluting. Chembur citizens must come on the streets to protest against this plant when it comes up.”
Questions were also raised over the environment impact assessment report. “How can one expect the assessment report to be impartial if Tata Consulting Engineers has prepared the report? The report doesn’t mention where water will be released after sulphur is washed and how will fly ash be transported to companies to make cement and bricks,” said advocate Naina Pardeshi
In order to get environment clearance, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board will send the minutes and video recording of the public hearing to the environment ministry.