JSM wants public hearing on proposed power plant again

Demands were made for re-conducting public hearing on environmental impact assessment of the 120 mega watt (MW) thermal power plant proposed in Chatrapur block of Ganjam district.

This demand was made on Wednesday by activists of an organisation named Jan Surakshya Manch (JSM), which is opposing the project as well as Lokshakti Abhiyan and All India Khet Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS). Public hearing for this plant to be established by Dr. Ramakrishna Prasad Power Private Limited (RKPPL) of Hyderabad had been held at A.Totapalli village of Chatrapur block on Jan 10.

Leaders of these three organisations alleged that the common man who would be affected by the plant was kept away from the public hearing held on Jan 10. Leaders of the JSM like former chairman of Chatrapur block Ireshu Achary, panchayat samity member Pratibha Behera and Renubala Pradhan alleged that the police and administration worked to ascertain expression of views only in support of the proposed plant.

Environmental activist and president of the Lokshakti Abhiyan Prafulla Samantra expressed doubts on the environmental assessment report prepared for this plant. “The environmental assessment report is defective as it has for some reason ignored several key factors,” he said. According to Mr Samantra this thermal power plant was proposed in a dense residential area of an agrarian populace. He alleged that contrary to the environmental assessment report, the land on which the plant would come up was not barren and it had cashew, kewra and other plantations.

Mr Samantra was also critical of local leaders who supported the plant. Use of ground water by this plant was also a great concern for the leaders opposing it. The water needed for it is supposed to be lifted from over 400 feet depth. National committee member of the AIKMS Bhala Chandra Sadangi said it would lead to depletion of ground water in the area.