The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the basis of which the conditional environmental clearance for the 450-MW Hankon thermal power project project was granted is riddled with flaws, the report of a Central committee reveals. The threemember committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for a spot inspection of the site, has recommended a comprehensive impact assessment study before the final environmental clearance for the project is granted.
The conditional EIA was given on the basis of the report submitted to the MoEF by the Ind Bharat Power (Karwar) Ltd, a private company which is building the coal-based power plant.
The committee was constituted following large scale local protests against the plant on environmental grounds. The committee members include K S Reddy, chief conservator of forests, M M Kamath and B Sudhakara Reddy.
Key questions raised
◆ Cotegaon Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa, is located at at an aerial distance of 5 km from the project site. The Company’s EIA report says that there is no National Park/Wildlife Sanctuary within a 7-km periphery of the project site, as is mandated by law. Also, the location of any existing National Park/Wildlife Sanctuary within 10 km of the site should be specified on an officially endorsed map. This finds no mention in the EIA report. The proposed project site is only 10 km away from the boundary of Dandeli-Anashi Tiger Reserve, the committee observed.
◆ The company’s report says that there are no lakes/reservoirs/dams within a 7-km radius of the project site. The committee has found three minor irrigation tanks in the vicinity of the project site. Also, mountains and hills within the 7-km radius find no mention in the EIA report.
◆ The existence of a historical fort at Sadashivgad, which is at a distance of 5 km from the project site, has not been mentioned. Although there are a few houses within 500 metres of the project site, the company’s report answers ‘nil’ to a question regarding the number of houses in that specified area.
◆ According to the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, no cooling water discharge shall be permitted into estuaries or ecologically sensitive zones like mangroves. However, the discharge site of the project falls into this category.
◆ The company has failed to mention that forest land is required for the project. The committee says that the project needs forest land for the approach road and a large portion for power transmission by KPTCL.
So What next.....