The Madras High Court Bench here has disposed of a public interest litigation petition filed against establishment of a 1200 MW coal fired thermal power plant at Mela Arasaradi panchayat in Ottapidaram Taluk of Tuticorin district with a few directions to the private power generating company involved in the project.

A Division Bench comprising Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice K.B.K. Vasuki closed the PIL petition filed by the panchayat president M. Vellathai after recording the undertaking given by a senior counsel appearing for the private company that no part of an Odai (water course) in area of 6.85 acres would be obliterated while constructing the power plant.

The Judges directed the company to lay granite stones on the sides of the entire water course. It was also ordered to construct culverts or bridges or cement concrete tubes wherever necessary in order to ensure that the Odai was safeguarded properly. The laying of granite stones should be supervised and certified by the Public Works Department authorities.

Further, the Ottapidaram Tahsildar was directed to identify the temples that might have to be relocated for constructing the power plant and also the alternative place where they could be shifted. After such identification and after obtaining the concurrence of the village elders, the company should take steps to shift the temple at its own expense.

As far as the third grievance of the petitioner was concerned, the Division Bench appointed an advocate commissioner to find out whether any of the pathways to the villages would be blocked due to construction of the power plant. The petitioner as well as the company was given liberty to seek further orders based on the advocate commissioner's report to be filed within four weeks.

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