Ministry revokes coastal clearance

Kartanaka power project gave false information

By Nidhi Jamwal
Published: Saturday 31 July 2010

IT IS the end of the road for the 450 MW thermal power plant near Karwar in Karnataka.

On June 15, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests cancelled the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance it granted for the construction of a coal unloading wharf for the power plant in village Hanakona, near Karwar in Uttar Kannada district. Earlier, in April, the ministry had cancelled the environment clearance for the coal-fired plant.

People in the area have been opposing the Ind-Bharath Thermal Power Ltd (IBTPL) project for the past few years. “Our agitation has borne fruit,” said B S Pai, advocate in Karwar. In its letter to the company, the ministry said IBTPL had “concealed factual information/details in its submissions”. For instance, IBTPL lied about the distance between the proposed plant and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa: the company claimed the sanctuary was 17 km away, a Central team of experts found it to be within 5 km. The ministry’s letter said the company also lied about where the cooling water would be discharged and about the presence of a dense forest and mangroves around the proposed plant.

The ministry had cleared the coal wharf and the plant in 2008. But people protested and brought several violations to the ministry’s notice. The ministry then decided to review the clearances through a joint expert appraisal panel. The panel confirmed the violations. IBTPL is shifting the project to Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.

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