Environmental clearance for KTPS Unit comes with riders

May 03, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:50 am IST - HYDERABAD:

Environmental clearance for the proposed 800MW unit VII at the Kothagudem Thermal Power Station, Palvancha, will hinge mainly on the undertaking by the Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TSGenco), of efficient disposal/utilisation of fly ash, among other criteria.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is reliably learnt to have asked the State-owned generation company to drop the construction of ash pond in the 230-acre site as mentioned in the proposal.

Instead, the plant should try and achieve 100 per cent utilisation of fly ash in the next five years.

Further, the Ministry has reportedly asked for an undertaking by the company for phasing out Unit I and II of KTPS, with 60 MW and 120 MW capacities respectively, by 2019.

One more pre-condition is the assurance for provision of a Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) within the premises.

Violation of

anti-pollution norms

This assumes significance in the context of several notices and directives issued by the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB and later TSPCB) to the company over the last eight years, citing severe violations of anti-pollution norms. A show-cause notice issued by the AP Pollution Control Board a year ago, mentioned the fly ash utilisation from KTPS units I to IV only at about 11 per cent, and from unit V at about 21 per cent, against the prescribed 100 per cent utilisation.

Also mentioned prominently in the notices were dust emissions, suspended particulate matter much higher than the prescribed norms, and water bodies nearby polluted by the fly ash runoff.

Subsequent to two petitions filed last year, one each in the Lokayukta and High Court respectively, the TSPCB conducted a legal hearing last October, and found that the plant had failed to comply with the directives issued earlier, pertaining to water and air quality.

There was an accumulation of ash in Karakavagu and Kinnerasani River, exceeding the Board’s stipulated surface water standard.

Air pollution due to chimney effluents too was found to be very high.

Company asked to furnish bank guarantee

Fresh directives issued by the Board asked the company to furnish bank guarantee of Rs.50 lakh—Rs.25 lakh for units I to IV and Rs.25 lakh for Unit V—even while forfeiting the earlier guarantee furnished for Rs.5 lakh each for non-compliance with rules.

Besides furnishing the bank guarantees, the company has, in March this year, submitted an action plan to the Board, for compliance with the directives.

CMD’s comment

However, TSGenco CMD D. Prabhakar Rao refused knowledge about any bank guarantee in recent times, and said that the plant had complied with all environmental regulations.

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