After the development of the Krishnapatnam Port, industrialists secured permissions for the construction of a plethora of thermal power projects in the vicinity of the port considering the ease in supply of imported coal.
In the beginning, six thermal projects were allotted lands in the Chillakur and Muthukur mandals surrounding the port area, which is located at 25 km from Nellore. Afterwards, seven more companies sought land for setting up their plants.
As of now, about 2,000 MW power is being generated from the Meenakshi, Gayatri, Simhapuri and AP Genco power stations. Another 1200 MW is expected to be added in the next two to three months after the completion of trial operations of the respective units.
Following the setting up of several power plants within 10 to 20 km radius of the port, concerns have been expressed over the cumulative impact of pollution from these plants on the temperature and eco-system here.
“They are talking about pollution control measures being taken up. They should be implemented strictly. Green belts should be developed in letter and spirit,” said Ch. Koti Reddy, general secretary, Krishna district, Confederation of Farmers’ Associations of India.
The managements of thermal power stations are asserting that pollution control measures are being taken and it is kept within manageable limits. High-rise chimneys and stringent green belt norms have been made mandatory to avoid any problems to the people living in the area.
“Nearly 30 to 33 per cent of the allotted land should be kept under green belt. Power was once a luxury but now it is a necessity. Generation should have to be increased by taking extra precautionary measures,” said Holi Ram, general manager, Simhapuri Thermal Power Project.
The people’s organisations have made fervent pleas to the government to consider the cumulative impact of pollution and then only take a look at the future proposals for setting up power projects in the surroundings of Nellore.