Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finally a Farmer's victory over Thermal power plant !!

Alphonso grower's plea holds up JSW power plant
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Thursday, September 24, 2009 2:39 IST

New Delhi: Power-starved Maharashtra has suffered another jolt with the Delhi high court ordering JSW Energy Limited not to make its 1,200MW thermal power station at Jaigad in the alphonso mango beltof the Konkan operational until it is cleared by an expert appraisal committee (EAC).

"While reconsidering the matter, the EAC will keep in mind the principle of sustainable development," a bench ofchief justice AP Shah and justice Sanjiv Khanna said. The bench ordered the committee to do the job quickly.

The order came on a writ petition filed by mango grower Bhalchandra Bhikaji Nalawade, who said his livelihood was endangered by the project. Nalawade said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board gave permission to the plant without assessing its environmental impact.

JSW said the project was set in motion only after various environmental authorities granted approval and it was due to become operational in four months. The Bombay high court is also seized of the matter in another petition but hasn't stayed the project.

The company said the aspects relating to gaseous discharges and suspended particulate matter had been dealt with in environmental assessment reports and discussed by the National Environment Appellate Authority and the EAC.

The company said mango plantations within 10km of the plant account for just 1.07% of the area of 31,381 hectares. It also stressed the need for early execution of the project in view of Maharashtra's power crisis. But the court emphasised the need to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) had signed a memorandum of understanding with JSW to supply 300MW from the plant. "This power was expected to start flowing into the state's grid only from October next year," an MSEDCL official said.

With inputs from Shwetaa Rahul in Mumbai

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