Sagar is making an independent assessment ahead of the public hearing

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) made for the proposed 800 megawatt unit at the Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station (NTTPS), earlier known as the Vijayawada Thermal Power Station, is fraudulent, according to noted environmental engineer Sagar Dhara. Mr. Sagar is a noted environmental impact scientist, who has worked on several boards of experts.

Mr. Sagar, who is here to make an independent appraisal on the crop loss and human health around the thermal power station, told The Hindu that the EIA study made to obtain environmental clearance of the proposed 800 MW unit was a “fraud”.

He is making an independent assessment prior to the statutory public hearing to be held on September 26. Environmental activists have been opposing the holding of the public hearing on the grounds that the EIA study was not done properly and have requested Mr. Sagar to make the study.

Mr.Sagar said that the crop loss assessment in the EIA report was done by computing Air Pollution Tolerance Indices (ATPI) for exposed and control crops. The method used for crop loss assessment was incorrect, Mr. Sagar said.

Quoting D.N. Rao, the scientist who devised ATPI, he said that it was only an index that helped decide which plant species may be used as air pollution sinks to derive environmental benefits by planting tolerant species in polluted areas.

‘Junk science’

The ATPI was not an instrument capable of assessing crop yield loss due to air pollution. “Using ATPI to assess crop yield loss in the EIA study is like indulging in junk science,” Mr Sagar said. He even went to the extent of demanding that the two agencies that made the study be blacklisted.

The method used for crop loss assessment was incorrect. Leading a team of volunteers armed with questionnaires, Mr. Sagar will conduct his own crop loss assessment in areas around Mulapadu and Kanchikacherla in Krishna district and some villages on the other side of the River Krishna in Guntur district in the next three or four days.

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