MahaGenco serves defamation notice to researchers of Chandrapur pollution study | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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MahaGenco serves defamation notice to researchers of Chandrapur pollution study

ByPrayag Arora-Desai
Apr 12, 2022 09:29 PM IST

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MahaGenco) has served a defamation notice to the Delhi-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) over a research report published by the latter in February

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MahaGenco) has served a defamation notice to the Delhi-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) over a research report published by the latter in February. The report stated that pollution from Chandrapur’s Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) impacted public health, including causing premature deaths not just in Chandrapur and Nagpur, but also in cities such as Mumbai and Pune, which are at a considerable distance.

IAir pollution impact from the CSTPS were observed over hundreds of kilometres impacting cities like Nanded, Pune and Mumbai among other cities (HT PHOTO)
IAir pollution impact from the CSTPS were observed over hundreds of kilometres impacting cities like Nanded, Pune and Mumbai among other cities (HT PHOTO)

Dubbing the study “mischievous”, “baseless”, “false”, “misleading” and “unscientific”, MahaGenco through its advocate imposed damages to the tune of 10 crore on CREA, with added liabilities of 1 crore per day after March 20, in case the report is not withdrawn. A copy of the notice, dated March 12, has been reviewed by Hindustan Times.

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Nandikesh Sivalingam, director, CREA, confirmed the development but refused to comment. “We would not like to say anything beyond what is contained in our response to MAHAGENCO,” he said.

Sanjay Khandare, chairman and managing director of MahaGenco, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

“The complete data mentioned in your report regarding premature deaths right from Chandrapur to Pune and Mumbai is not only incorrect, false but the same is mischievous and baseless. You are also called upon to give the details regarding the research made by CREA regarding the overall issues about the air pollution in Chandrapur city,” MahaGenco said.

Responding to the notice on April 4, CREA said, “The report is primarily based on the data of emissions and plant parameters obtained by my client from government, public sources, Court/ National Green Tribunal’s Orders and Committees appointed by it.”

Highlighting that the study relies on a “globally used scientific methodology to estimate the long-range transport of pollutants emitted from tall stacks”, CREA also said that MahaGenco’s contention shows a “lack of understanding of the basic science of air pollution emissions, dispersion and chemical transformation.”

CREA’s report titled ‘Health impacts of Chandrapur coal-based power plant, Maharashtra’ – had found that areas impacted due to pollutants from CSTPS include Mumbai, Palghar and Goa in addition to several districts in Gujarat, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Using dispersion modelling methods to simulate the movement of emission plumes away from the site, which was analysed along with data on meteorology, population exposure, and baseline mortality data from the Global Burden of Disease project, researchers were able to attribute 62 premature deaths (for the calendar year 2020) in Chandrapur district alone to pollutants which have travelled from the CSTPS site. Similarly, 45 premature deaths in 2020 were attributed to CSTPS pollutants in Yavatmal, 30 in Mumbai, and 29 in Pune and Nanded, making these the worst affected cities in terms of attributable deaths.

“Air pollution impact from the CSTPS were observed over hundreds of kilometres impacting cities like Nanded, Pune and Mumbai among other cities. The operation of the CSTPS in 2020 alone contributed to more than eight lakh sick leave days, approximately 1,900 asthma emergency room visits of which over 800 were children, deaths of at least 1,300 people, and 1,800 preterm births across central India,” CREA had said in a statement at the time of releasing the study.

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