Provisions of Electricity Act used to oppose the power plant
KERC has asked government to set up a committee to study desirability of project
The commission has accepted many of the demands of Mysore Grahakara Parishat
MYSORE: The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has advised the State Government to take a fresh decision on the proposed Chamalapura coal-based power project while considering the concerns raised by a Mysore-based non-governmental organisation and the public over the project.
The commission has also asked the government to direct Power Company of Karnataka Limited (PCKL) to strictly comply with the bidding guidelines issued by the Government of India. It has also advised the government to look into aspects such as environment, heritage, land acquisition, fuel linkage and water supply.
This was disclosed by Maj. Gen. (retd) S.G. Vombatkere of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) at a press conference here on Friday.
“Instead of setting up an expert committee itself, KERC has advised the government to set up such a committee to make a detailed study of the desirability or otherwise of establishing thermal power plants in Karnataka,” he told presspersons here.
The MGP filed an application before KERC asking it to advise the government against such power stations.
According to the parishat, Section 86 (2) of the Electricity Act 2003 mandates that KERC should advise the State Government on promotion of efficiency and economy in activities of the electricity industry.
In its application, the MGP had urged KERC to exercise this power and commission a detailed study by an expert group on the costs and benefits of establishing coal-based power stations relative to alternatives like efficiency improvement, energy conservation, demand-side management and deployment of non-conventional energy sources.
It also asked KERC to hold public hearings on the economic, social and environmental impact of establishing coal-based power stations and advise the government against establishment of such stations in the State until better alternatives are fully harnessed.
“Karnataka Power Corporation Limited argued that the petition should be rejected as KERC was not the right forum to take up this matter. But KERC did not allow this objection.
Proceeding on the MGP’s petition, it conducted public hearings and gave its final order on May 19, 2008,” Maj. Gen. Vombatkere said.
In its order, KERC has accepted many of MGP’s demands. Maj. Gen. Vombatkere said the bidding guidelines issued by the Government of India have not been followed and replies to the commission by PCKL are misleading.
“The bidding process initiated by PCKL lacks transparency and the whole process was carried out in a very casual manner,” he alleged.
He said the issues raised by the MGP and the public during the proceedings of the commission should have been considered before the decision for setting up a plant at Chamalapura was taken.
“KERC’s order is of great significance because this is the first time in India that powers given by Sec. 86 (2) of the Electricity Act have been used to oppose a power plant. This unique initiative by the MGP is bound to have ramifications nationwide as others take similar initiatives,” Maj. Gen. Vomkatkere said.