Special Correspondent

Vijayashankar submits a note on the pros and cons of the project

Project will draw 20.6 tmcft of water from the Kabini every year

Mysore district unit of the BJP resolves to oppose the project

MYSORE: The attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Power Sushil Kumar Shinde has been drawn to the perils of going ahead with the proposed coal-based thermal power station at Chamalapura and they have been urged to take steps to drop the project.

The Mysore MP, C.H. Vijayashankar, has submitted a detailed note on the pros and cons of the proposed power plant and pointed out that “every segment of the thinking public across the State has expressed its opposition on environmental, social, economic, scientific and technical grounds.”

The note contained scientific information on the impact of coal-based power plants on agriculture. A relevant case study for Karnataka, it was pointed out, was the analogy of Raichur thermal power plant and scientific studies pointed to a reduction in productivity of crops in the affected zone and the yield of paddy, sorghum and cotton had declined by about 40 to 50 per cent. The additional cost of supplement measures to offset the pollutants was reckoned to be as high as 60 per cent of the original cost invested in the produce while the magnitude of community health and social cost was reckoned to difficult to estimate.

The study in Raichur proved that the total social cost due to various externalities involved was Rs. 90 crore and no government had met this kind of obligation, said the note. The other feature was the impact on community health and citing various reports, Mr. Vijayashankar, said the thermal power station’s potential to escalate vulnerability to cancer in Mysore and other regions in a radius of 88.5 km would increase by five times. The present risk of 72 fatalities due to cancer per lakh of population would increase to 350 per lakh if the enormous amount of fly ash and other waste generated by the plant were taken into consideration.

The other issue was about the risk of fatal doses to all ages resulting in enhanced infant mortalities and still births all of which could easily be estimated. Dr. Manmohan Singh, whose concern over dwindling tigers is well-known, was apprised of the presence of Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks which are critical tiger reserves. Hence, a plea was made to take this into cognisance before clearing the proposal. Underlining the upstream effect of the power plant, he said it would draw water from the Kabini at the rate of 1,600 million litres a day which would amount to nearly 20.6 tmcft of water every year. This would have a bearing on water supply to agriculture and affect the crop, while polluted water would be supplied to towns downstream, including Nanjangud. Mr. Vijayashankar highlighted the importance of Mysore and its surrounding region for tourism and said the proposed plant would pollute the heritage city which would be the managerial focal point for planning the logistics of Chamalapura, be it the movement of coal, construction material or other infrastructure. He said even elementary meteorological analysis such as wind tunnel studies or simpler application of CFD techniques could help establish the predictions that would spell disaster for Mysore.

Addressing presspersons, he said the district unit of the BJP had resolved to oppose the project and vowed to impress upon the party leaders about its negative impact on Mysore. He wondered why no cost-benefit analysis was done for the project and expressed concern over lack of transparency on part of the Government.