If you expected that the State government's denotification 1,998 acres of land to be acquired for Phase II of Mangalore Special Economic Zone Project will reduce quantity of water required for industries under the project to a great extent, you will be disappointed.
According to Ramachandra Bhandarkar, Public Relations Officer, Mangalore Special Economic Zone Ltd., total water required for the project, including phase I and phase II has been estimated at 45 MGD (million gallon a day). Of that 37 MGD is specifically required for phase I which is under progress. National Environment Engineering Institute, which conducted environment impact assessment study of the MSEZ in 2007-08, made the estimation, he says.
Mr. Bhandarkar says: “Phase I of the project is sector-specific for petrochemical industries which are typically water intensive industries. Hence the bulk of water demand pertains to Phase I.”
He says the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in April 2008 approved the company to source 37 MGD of water for Phase I. Going by this, the post denotification demand for water by the project as a whole will come down by only about eight MGD.
He says that water demand (37 MGD) for Phase I is proposed to be met by building two barrages each across the Netravathi and the Gurupur, and treated water from three sewage treatment plants (STPs) of Mangalore City Corporation (MCC). He says the State Water Resources Department in 2007 had allowed the company to lift 15 MGD of water during 90 summer days from the two rivers. As there will be enough water in the rivers during non-summer months, sourcing 15 MGD of water will not be an issue.
Mr. Bhandarkar says 18 MGD of treated water can be sourced from three STPs – at Kavoor, Bajal (Jeppinamogaru), and Surathkal – of MCC. He says MSEZL and the MCC will form a company for the operation and maintenance of three STPs.
K.T. Maninarayana, Superintendent Engineer, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), Mangalore (who is in-charge for constructing STPs), says the three STPs, respectively, have the processing capacity of 9.6 MGD, 4.4 MGD, and 3.6 MGD water – a total of 17.6 MGD of water.
He says the STP at Kavoor has been completed while the rest will be completed by this December end.
Meanwhile, a September 17, 2007 order of the State Water Resources Department, a copy of which is with The Hindu, has permitted the MSEZ Ltd. to lift 15 MGD water (by constructing four barrages) from the two rivers up to five years from the date of the order.
According to it, the permission to lift water will expire in September 2012.
Mr. Bhandarkar says the company will apply for the renewal of the permission.