Alternative site for power plant near creek draws flak

Staff Reporter

It’s an eco sensitive area, says Forum for Better Visakha

New site attracts all disqualifications applicable to previous one, says E.A.S. Sarma

Officials should have visited the site to assess eco implications, he says

VISAKHAPATNAM: Forum for Better Visakha convener and former Union Power Secretary E.A.S. Sarma has appealed to Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to look into the justification behind allotment of an alternate site near Naupada-Tekkali creek -- an ecologically sensitive area -- for a power plant in Srikakulam district.

While thanking the government for acting with lightning speed in cancelling the earlier allotment in response to objections raised by Environment Impact Assessment Committee, Mr. Sarma in separate letters to the Secretary, MoEF and members of EIA Committee, said that their apprehensions on alternate site had come true. He said the State Government had decided to hand over an alternate site near Meghavaram village, about 10 km from the jetty for the power project that had recently been cleared by Centre.

“The alternate site attracts all the disqualifications applicable to the previous site that has been rejected by the EIA Committee. In addition, the new site also falls within the Coastal Regulated Zone where no construction activity whatsoever is permissible,” he said. The social activist recalled the controversy surrounding the allotment of 50 acres near the city by the State Government to Satyam Computers, violating CRZ and Master Plan of the city and several other laws. In the instant case of Bhavanapadu also, the State had displayed unreasonable haste in handing over valuable public land to the developer, whether it was the earlier one or it was the new one, violating its own laws and regulations.

Mr. Sarma said MoEF had generally been unmindful of the environmental doom that such projects cause. Instead of acting as the protector of the environment, the State Department of Environment and Forest had, in several cases, bowed down to the wishes of the political executive. The least that officers of the State could have done was to visit the site in person to assess the environmental implications.

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