Forum for Better Visakha convener E.A.S. Sarma on Thursday expressed shock at the Expert Appraisal Committee's recommendation for the Kakarapalli thermal power project.
Ignoring public opinion and peaceful protests by project-affected people, EAC had at last ‘recommended' Kakarapalli project in Srikakulam, where the State Government had deployed force to suppress the dissent of the local community against the project, leading to the loss of innocent lives in police firing, he said.
Mr. Sarma, former Union Power Secretary, said the EAC's recommendation was in total disregard of the concerns raised by him and others. In a letter to Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, he said “I am all the more surprised that your Ministry as well as EAC disregarded my suggestion that the committee should listen to the views and concerns of the representatives of the fisherfolk, the farmers and others affected by the project in several ways.”
He said that evidently, neither the Environment and Forest Ministry nor EAC had any regard for the fears and apprehensions of the local people. EAC's proceedings stood vitiated on this ground alone, as no reasonable opportunity had been given to affected people before it made such a precipitous recommendation, he stated.
Mr. Sarma recalled the Minister's statement in Parliament admitting that the Kakarapalli power project was located within a wetland. “Your Ministry has the constitutional obligation to protect the wetlands. Moreover, National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA)'s order is clear on one thing i.e. East Coast Energy Pvt. Ltd. started the work without prior permission and clearance under the Environment (Protection) Act, which amounted to disqualification under the Act,” the letter pointed out.