Special Correspondent

NAGAPATTINAM: The public hearing for Sirkazhi thermal power plant that was initially scheduled to be held at Maruthampallam on September 23 was called off yet again, reportedly following certain legal questions raised by Coastal Action Network (CAN), a collective of organisations opposing the project.

According to Jesurathinam, Convenor of Coastal Action Network, a petition stating reasons for their opposition was forwarded to member secretary of Pollution Control Board and Collector.

“Power shortage as a justification for thermal power plants is a myth, While at one level, the government is negotiating on efforts to combat climate change, it is supporting carbon emissions and hastening global warming in its fragile coasts through these thermal power stations,” said Ms. Jesurathinam. Convening a press conference here on Wednesday afternoon, representatives of CAN spoke of the legal questions and the validity of the proposal to hold a public hearing for the project. According to A. Gandhimathi, State Committee Member of CAN, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has placed a moratorium on all coastal projects that impact on the fragile coastal eco systems, till a proper policy framework could be evolved.

Earlier, the public hearing that was convened in Vanagiri for this 2X500 MW coal based power project had to be postponed following opposition from the public gathered there. M. Paneerselvam, Assistant Environmental Engineer and District Officer, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, stated that a new date would be announced later.