The 2,640 MW coal-fired power plant, proposed by East Coast Energy Pvt. Ltd. at Bhavanapadu, may also go the Sompeta way if the National Environment Appellate Authority quashes the environmental clearance accorded to it in May, 2009.
NEAA member J.C. Kala, after a tour of Bhavanapadu on June 29, heard arguments and counterarguments from the appellants and the respondents in New Delhi and reserved the judgment.
“We are confident of favourable order by the NEAA. We have produced a lot of evidence to buttress our claim that the project proponents have violated law from day one and the sub-committee of Experts Appraisal Committee had confirmed that part of the project site is a swamp land,” Ritwick Dutta, counsel for appellants in NEAA told The Hindu over phone.
He also found fault with the Ministry of Environment and Forests for furnishing ‘misleading' information to Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on factual position of the land and the MoEF release stating that they had suspended the environmental clearance accorded to NCC Power Plant at Sompeta after NEAA quashed the clearance on July 15.
Following NEAA order, the MoEF deputed two experts to Bhavanapadu and Sompeta to find out facts on complaints received on locating the projects in wetlands.
Social activist E.A.S. Sarma said there was ample evidence to prove that the project site was in swamp land as several water courses passed through the site drawing into the sea. There were mudflats and tidal action within the definition of Coastal Regulation Zone.
Mr. Sarma, former Union Power Secretary, told this correspondent that the Telineelapuram bird nesting and feeding habitat was located in the vicinity of the project area.
Dr. Asad R. Rehmani of Bombay Natural History Society and Asha Rajvanshi of Wild Life Institute, after visiting Bhavanapadu and Sompeta, said the sites were located in ecologically sensitive areas due to several wetland systems and the consultant who did EIA for Bhavanapadu had acted in an unprofessional manner.
Mr. Sarma submitted a letter sent by RDO to Srikakulam Collector in 2005 to NEAA, in which she stated that there was a swamp area of 3,470 acres and 19 villages in the vicinity with ‘Tampara' land.