Pollution control board does nothing except take bank guarantees from plant management
Two units of the 2,340 MW Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) in Chandrapur city of Maharashtra have been spewing poison into the air for more than a decade now, reveal documents accessed under Right to Information (RTI) law by Chandrapur-based non-profit Eco-Pro. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board’s (MPCB) records show that the two 120 MW units, built in 1983 and 1984 respectively, exceed the prescribed standard emissions several times over. What’s more, MPCB has bent prescribed air pollution standards to allow CSTPS to pollute more.
The facts came to light after Eco-Pro wrote to the state environment minister Sanjay Deotale in April this year, demanding closure of the two units, since they were causing pollution over an area of 7 to 8 km around the plant, which includes the whole of the Chandrapur city as well as villages like Durgapur, Kondi, Neri and Tukum, says Bandu Dhotre, who heads the non-profit. In response to the letter, Deotale wrote to the state energy secretary and MPCB, asking them to take necessary action.
Money spent in vain
MPCB’s response to this correspondence, made public by Dhotre, brought disturbing facts to light. It turns out that despite spending crores of rupees on the overhauling of its electrostatic precipitator system in 2003 and again in 2007 and installation of permanent ammonia dosing system for both units in 2010, CSTPS has failed to meet the emission standards in the two said units.
Stack monitoring records of the MPCB between 2009 and April 2013 reveal that emissions are consistently much higher than the recommended 100 mg per normal cubic metre (mg/Nm3). Between January 2012 and April 2013, the emission figures of the two units were 383.91 and 642.92 mg/Nm3 of suspended particulate matter (SPM) on the average respectively.
| Emissions exceed standard
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