Saturday, October 9, 2010

NTPC’s coal-based project in MP turned down

The Hindu : News / National : NTPC’s coal-based project in MP turned down
PRESENT DANGER:File photograph of the ash slurry overflow from the NTPC's Simhadri plant in Devada village in Vishakhapatnam in June 2010. The MoEF panel has cited proximity to habitation to reject the NTPC's Madhya Pradesh project.
The Hindu PRESENT DANGER:File photograph of the ash slurry overflow from the NTPC's Simhadri plant in Devada village in Vishakhapatnam in June 2010. The MoEF panel has cited proximity to habitation to reject the NTPC's Madhya Pradesh project.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Environment Ministry noted that the identified land for the power plant seems to be prime agricultural land. "The site comprises a vast portion of double crop agricultural land which is unacceptable," the panel said.

Noting that a thermal power plant near human habitat and on agricultural land was not viable, a Central green panel has refused to give approval to the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to set up a 1320 MW coal-based project in Madhya Pradesh.

The Public Sector Unit had proposed 2x660 MW coal based thermal power plant over 1000 acres of land in Jhikoli and Tumra villages in Narsinghpur district.

However, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Environment Ministry at a recent meeting, noted that the identified land for the power plant seems to be primarily prime agricultural land and the project proponent has failed to give more details on it. “The site comprises a vast portion of double crop agricultural land which is unacceptable,” noted the panel.

It also felt that locating a power plant near the main town of Gadarwara was not desirable. Moreover, drawing a huge amount of water (32 cusecs) from the Narmada river was not feasible given the fact that a large number of such power plants with water allocation by the state government from the river have already been submitted for consideration.

The NTPC has proposed land requirement of 1,000 acres, which comprises mainly non-irrigated land and irrigated land while coal requirement of 7.5 million tonnes per annum which was to be obtained from the North Karanpura coal blocks in the state.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Maha MPs want eco-panel to allow development in W Ghats

Maha MPs want eco-panel to allow development in W Ghats -
The Times of India

PUNE: Twenty-one members of Parliament  from six states including Maharashtra have submitted their views and suggestions about the ecology and sustainable development of Western Ghats to the ministry of environment and forests Jairam Ramesh.

The meeting held recently was attended by Ramesh, ministry officials and the Western Ghats ecology experts' panel. The MPs who represented Maharashtra were Sanjeev Naik, Udayanraje Bhonsle, Anand Paranjpe, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil and Anant Geete.

According to the MPs, the areas in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts need urgent development that will generate jobs and alleviate poverty and this should be remembered while declaring no go' areas here.

The panel's aim is identification of no go' areas where no development would be allowed and identify others where development needs regulation.

Chairman of the experts' panel and noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil told TOI that the MPs' main concern was that if a project has already got environmental clearance then it should not be taken up for reconsideration by the ministry.

"But the ministry's circular clearly states that no activity relating to any project covered under the environmental impact assessment (EIA) notification including civil construction except fencing of the site to protect it from encroachment and construction of temporary shed for the guard can be undertaken without environmental clearance,'' he said.

This decision came after representations expressing concern about the environmental impacts and ecological degradation due to many projects being proposed in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts as well as the projects under implementation were received.

This led the ministry to impose a moratorium on consideration of projects under the EIA notification, 2006, received by the ministry or by Maharashtra State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) after August 16, 2010, for terms of reference on environmental clearance from these two districts till December 2010.

Gadgil said that many times the project is started and environment clearance is taken for granted. "The developeers then say they have spent huge amounts. It is absolutely improper, " said Gadgil.

At a meeting with Ramesh in New Delhi on September 7, Gadgil suggested that they have a strategy to regulate developmental activities in a particular location. "Depending on the location, developmental activities may not be permitted, whereas in other places it can be given permission and regulated considering the environmental sensitivity and ecological significance of the region. The minister has agreed and the panel will stick to this,'' he said.

Gadgil said that the MPs' suggestions will be looked into by both the panel and the MoEF.

Read more: Maha MPs want eco-panel to allow development in W Ghats - The Times of India

Large tracts of fertile land must not be lost in acquisitions for industry: Sonia

The Hindu Business Line :
Large tracts of fertile land must not be lost in acquisitions for industry: Sonia

The UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Sept. 9

The UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, said a balanced approach is needed while acquiring land for industrial purposes and that this should not lead to a loss of “large tracts” of fertile land.

Amid rising confrontations between agricultural land owners and industrial project developers, Ms Gandhi also said farmers are entitled to “adequate compensation” wherever land is acquired for industrial use.

“New industries and infrastructure cannot be built without acquiring land. This is obvious and there is no argument about it. But land acquisition must be done in a manner that it does not result in the loss of large tracts of fertile and productive agriculture land that is so essential to grow food grains for our people,” Ms Gandhi said here today at a function organised to dedicate the 980-MW second stage of NTPC Ltd's National Capital Thermal Power Project at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.

Farmers must be provided adequate compensation and alternative occupation where their lands are acquired, Ms Gandhi said. States such as Haryana had enacted progressive legislations in this regard and other States should emulate it.

“We must protect the environment to ensure sustainable development. In whatever we do, we should not forget the forests and environment. Farmers should be provided adequate compensation,” she said.

The land requirement for large-sized industrial projects varies across sectors. Tata Motors was keen to acquire around 404 hectares of multi-crop land for its small-car factory in West Bengal before the group decided to shift to Gujarat.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is currently working on plans to acquire 938 hectares for its proposed 6000-MW Jaitapur project in Maharashtra.

For mega Special Economic Zones, the land requirement can go up to 5,000 hectares.

Emphasising the importance of electricity in the fast development and progress of a nation, Ms Gandhi said we need to tap various sources for producing electricity.

Work on the second stage of the NTPC station was completed in a record time of only 39 months and is specifically meant to meet the power requirements of the National Capital Region during the Commonwealth Games. The main plant equipment supplied by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), comprising two units of 490 MW each, feature new units that have been designed for operating at a higher reheat steam temperature of 565 degrees Celsius.

These machines have a better Heat Rate that is expected to result in reduced coal consumption to the tune of 12,000 tonnes per annum per unit. Stage-I of the Dadri project is already producing 840 MW (through four units, each of 210 MW capacity).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

List of New Thermal Power Projects Seeking MoEF Clearance – June 2010

List of New Thermal Power Projects Seeking MoEF Clearance – June 2010 | Energy Industry Monitor
List of New Thermal Power Projects Seeking MoEF Clearance – June 2010

Project Name : Expansion capacity from 540 MW to 840 MW by installing 300 MW unit of coal based TPP Phase-1 at MIDC Warora,
Project Promoter : M/s Wardha Power Co. Ltd (KSK
Category : Thermal Projects
Village : Warora
District : Chandrapur,
State : Maharashtra
Applied on : Jun 18, 2010

Status : The proposal is likely to be considered in next meeting of EAC as per the chronological order of the receipt


Project Name : 2×660 MW Adra Super Thermal Power Project
Project Promoter : M/s Ministry of Railway (Railway Board)
Category : Thermal Projects
Village : null
District : Purulia
State : West Bengal
Applied on : Jun 07, 2010

Status : Will be placed in 2nd Meeting of the EAC (T) scheduled during August 9-10, 2010.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Addl 300 mw of Ratnagiri plant onstream by Oct


"Addl 300 mw of Ratnagiri plant onstream by Oct

JSW Energy on Monday said an additional 300 mw of the 1,200-mw Ratnagiri power plant will go on-stream by October this year. The company's first phase (300 mw) power plant is already synchronised with the grid, a top company official said. “Our first phase (300 mw) power plant is synchronised with the grid. We will commission the second phase (300 mw) of our 1,200-mw power plant at Ratnagiri from next month,” company CMD Sajjan Jindal said. Earlier, the environment ministry raised questions about the project after mango growers in the Ratnagiri area complained against the plant. The mango growers had expressed concerns that toxic gases emitted by the thermal power."


Aging units + scanty rain = power paucity

Aging units + scanty rain = power paucity
Manu Aiyappa and Senthalir S, TNN, Aug 29, 2010, 11.29pm IST

BANGALORE: Although the situation is still far from normal, there has been a slight improvement of late. The past two months were particularly tiresome owing to sharp decline in power generation because of scanty rainfall in July and August coupled with wet coal and old machinery at the major thermal power plants.

"The situation has improved after the government initiated steps to buy 1,000 MW daily and restored some inactive units at major thermal plants," said a senior energy department official. Given the current situation, officials say the power demand in summer may be difficult to meet even if the government gets another 1,000 MW daily. According to figures of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation ( KPTC), power supply in the state has improved in recent times __ from 108.06 million units (MU) daily on August 5 to 121.08 MU on August 21. But, it'll face a shortfall of 15-25 MU in summer when demand is set to cross the danger 140 MU mark.

Generation in the state has been so low that power purchased from private players is much higher than that generated. The inefficient thermal units and the low reservoir levels have hit both thermal and hydropower generation. On August 18, the power generated by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) was 44.3 MU and power purchased from private players was 83.5 MU. On August 20, power generated was 57.2 MU compared to 63 MU purchased from private players.


The authorities are also in panic as water levels in major hydel reservoirs -- Linganmakki, Supa and Mane -- have already started receding due to lack of rain. "Water shortage has already compelled us to reduce generation to 4422 MU, a shortage of 1389 MU,'' sources said.

The levels of hydroelectric generation reservoirs continue to be lesser compared to the corresponding period of 10 years average level and also the previous year levels.


Reservoir ------ Present -- Last year -- 10-yr avg
Linganamakki -- 1,794.95 -- 1,809.30 -- 1,804.51
Supa -- ------- 1,772.54 -- 1,783.96 -- 1,787.25
Varahi --------- 1,918.64 -- 1,926.67 -- 1,928.14

(All units in ft)


"Karnataka is facing a power shortage because the investments that ought to have taken place in the public sector did not happen. The Centre, through the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and KPC (Karnataka Power Corporation), failed to undertake the required investments. The impact of those mistakes is being experienced ten years down the line. Having learnt that lesson, investments are now taking place in the public sector too," said former power minister K S Eshwarappa.

KPC managing director S M Jaamdar echoed his view: "The majority of RTPS units are over 25 years old and obsolete. Though they're supposed to generate 500 MW together daily, they generate only 250-300 MW. Reconstruction and renovation of such units cannot be taken up immediately as it will take a maximum of two years and the state is not in a position to lose 250-300 MW of power."


A dozen projects are in the pipeline, and most will be operational in 3-7 years. "For Karnataka to become power sufficient, there are enough projects in progress but ground-level issues like land acquisition and environmental clearance are a concern. Everybody wants power, but nobody wants a power plant in their backyard,'' said a worried senior minister.

"Karnataka has embarked on an ambitious plan of adding 10,000MW of power before the end of the 12th Plan (2017), and 5,000 MW (of this) would be added in the next four years during the 11th Plan itself," Yeddyurappa said.

NTPC will start construction of its proposed 4000 MW ultra mega power project in Kudgi (Bijapur) with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore by this year-end and expected to be commissioned by 2013-14. "We have already handed over Rs 26.22 crore to the Karnataka government for 3500 acres of land and requested the state government to expedite acquisition," said R S Sharma, chairman, NTPC.

Another project in Chhattisgarh is a joint venture of KPC and the Chhattisgarh government for a Rs 6000 crore, 1,200 MW thermal plant, the first project by KPC outside Karnataka. The Chhattisgarh government has ensured early allocation of land and coal linkage for KPCL under its industrial policy. Karnataka will draw 70% power from the plant with the home state getting the rest, they added.

Karnataka also recently approved gas-based power projects involving over 5,000 MW during the Global Investors Meet in June this year. These include three projects of 700 MW each at Belgaum, Gadag and Davanagere along the 800-km pipeline from Dabhol in Maharashtra to Bidadi near Bangalore.

A 2,000 MW gas-based project at Bidadi to be executed by KPC has also been approved and steps taken to acquire 300 acres for it.


All these projects along with a dozen of mini power projects will come up. By the time, all these projects are completed, the demand may be much higher and the state still struggling to meet it. We need private participation in the power sector and promotion of renewable energy.

Read more: Aging units + scanty rain = power paucity - Bangalore - City - The Times of India

Aam Vs The Aadmi | Aam Vs The Aadmi | ecology: maharashtra

Aam Vs The Aadmi
What’s eating up Ratnagiri’s fruit?
Debarshi Dasgupta

    Fruit And Nut

    * An MoEF-appointed expert claims pollution benefits mango and cashew trees in Ratnagiri
    * Earlier studies show pollution from brick kilns/power plants harms mango trees
    * MoEF stops further projects.


Can vehicular pollution benefit trees? In fact, make them healthier than those in non-polluted areas? Perplexing as it may sound, that was the conclusion of an expert appointed by the Union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) to ascertain the possible impact of pollution from JSW Energy Ltd’s coal-fired power plant in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, on the area’s famed Alphonso mangoes and cashew.

C.R. Babu, head of the Delhi-based Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, had visited the area last November. Since there were no functional thermal power plants there, he chose to study the impact of vehicular pollution instead. And in a report submitted this February, he said the trees in the area under study “are normal and even better than those found near the project site due to the edaphic factor”—that is, the subsoil there has a unique property that enables trees to metabolise sulphur and nitrogen better. Nor did he find any leaf injuries or difference in plant type or physiological parameters.

Babu also observed that the concerned area was close to “tropical seas” (sic) and had an excellent drainage system. It also got high rainfall for at least 4-6 months a year. No winter deviations can be observed in the normal atmospheric properties either. “Self-purification of atmosphere takes place with no build-up of pollution load,” he noted. “Consequently, plantations may not be affected the same way as conceived by local communities.”

A big lie, allege activists. “He (Babu) spent only about a day here, that too a day after Cyclone Phyan hit Ratnagiri (Nov 11, 2009) that uprooted many trees,” says Vivek Bhide of the Ratnagiri Zila Jagruk Manch. Earlier studies, he adds, have shown that carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and other emissions from brick kilns are directly responsible for black tips in mango trees, a disorder that retards the growth of fruit and renders it inedible. The Lucknow-based Industrial Toxicology Research Centre too in its study had attributed a reduction in the quality and quantity of mangoes to SO2 emissions. “Given this, are we to believe that burning 12,000 metric tonnes of coal everyday in the plant will benefit the mango trees?” Bhide asks.

Based on Babu’s report, the MOEF had cleared JSW’s 1,200 mw power plant. But following the public outcry, the ministry in June ordered the creation of a supervisory committee headed by P. Pujari of Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth in Dapoli. A planned 3,600-mw expansion of the plant hasn’t been cleared yet. Opposition has also built up against a planned nuclear plant of over 10,000 MW in Jaitapur (in Ratnagiri district) and mining projects around Kalane (in Sindhudurg district).

Given this spate of public sentiment against existing and planned projects, the MOEF on August 16 issued a moratorium on further proposals in these two districts till Dec 2010, calling for a “regional approach” in the appraisal of these projects. Madhav Gadgil, member of the National Advisory Council and also the chairman of the MOEF’s Western Ghats ecology expert panel, says it has received many submissions expressing concerns about the ecological impact of the growing number of projects. “We certainly plan to take a review in our next meeting on September 27 in Goa,” he says. Having issued a red flag to Vedanta’s mining project, the MOEF finally seems to be restoring its long-lost writ on the country’s other eco-sensitive regions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Activists Use Legal Weapons to Stop Thermal Power Plants- Pankaj Sekhsaria

Activists Use Legal Weapons to Stop Thermal Power Plants
By Pankaj Sekhsaria

HYDERABAD, India, Aug 27, 2010 (IPS) - Green activists have various ways of pushing their causes, from enlisting movie stars to launching protests, but India’s campaigners have also been quietly using legal weapons to try to get the projects they oppose, such as thermal plants, stopped or reversed.

This trend bears watching in the light of two cases where decisions affecting such projects, many of which are on the drawing board in different parts of India, have been made in courtrooms.

In July, the death of two protesters led to the cancellation of the environmental clearance of a thermal power plant project in southern Andhra Pradesh state, a decision that green activists took as victory.

But just a day before the Jul. 14 violence at the Nagarjuna Construction Company Power Projects Ltd project site at Sompeta, the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed a petition to stop a similar power plant project in the same district – Srikakulam.

This project by East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd is at Bhavanapadu in the wetlands area of Naupada village.

Lawyer Ritwick Dutta, representing the Paryavaran Parirakshana Sangham and other appellants says that Naupada is recognised by the Bombay Natural History Society and BirdLife International as a key habitat of the endangered Spot-billed Pelican, which breeds only in peninsular India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

Dutta had argued the case against the 12,000-crore (2.5 billion U.S. dollar) Nagarjuna project before the quasi-judicial National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA), which eventually cancelled the environmental clearance for the 2,640-megawatt plant.

In fact, the firing by police in Sompeta occurred at about the same time that the case was being argued before the appellate authority in New Delhi.

The results in the Nagarjuna and East Coast cases are different, but highlight how courtrooms are increasingly being asked to decide the fate of these projects – many already with environment clearances – in lawsuits by non-government groups protesting schemes that they say would displace communities and harm sensitive environments.

But Sanjay Upadhyay, a New Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer, says that the trend of plaintiffs approaching the courts in environmental matters cannot be a long-term solution to deciding policy.

Instead, he says in an interview, internal mechanisms and administrative systems inside the government must be strengthened, so that conflicting issues are resolved before clearances are issued in the first place. "Internal arrangements are very weak and systems can’t be run by courtrooms", Upadhyay pointed out.

According to the 2009 report by the environmental group Kalpavriksh entitled ‘Calling the Bluff: Revealing the state of Monitoring and Compliance of Environmental Clearance Conditions’, the Ministry of Environment and Forests clears 80 to 100 projects every month with a range of environment and social conditions.

Thermal power accounts for more than 70 percent of India’s electricity supply. Its annual per capita electricity consumption has increased from 566.7 kilowatt-hours in 2002-03 to 704 kwh in 2007-08.

Among India’s southern states, Andhra Pradesh has the highest installed capacity in coal-based utilities, which generate nearly 6,700 mw.

State officials explain that thermal power plant projects represent a total investment of up to 85,000 crore rupees (18 billion dollars) in Srikakulam alone, aside from providing 10,000 mw of power altogether.

But former government bureaucrat E A S Sarma, now convenor of the Forum for a Better Visakha, argues that none of these projects should be allowed in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

"These are coming up under the policy of the state government to promote merchant power plants, where land is being given cheap to the developers at the cost of the coastal environment and livelihoods of the local people," he said.

A report by the environment ministry notes that the area where the Nagarjuna project was to proceed has significant biodiversity, including medicinal plants and at least 120 bird species. T Rama Rao, vice president of the Sompeta-based Paryavaran Parirakshan Sangham (Environment Protection Committee) that is leading the opposition to the project along with Teera Pranta Matsyaka Aikya Vedika (Coastal Fisherfolk Unity Platform), says nearly 250,000 people from 24 fishing and 40 farming villages would have been affected by it.

At least six thermal plants are planned in Andhra Pradesh. Some, like the 2,630-mw project at Bhavanapadu by East Coast Energy – the subject of the July decision upholding the environment clearance thus far – and the 2,640-mw plant of Alpha Infra Prop Pvt Ltd at Komarada in neighbouring Vizianagaram district already have environment clearances.

The fatal shooting of two protesters in July seems to have inspired other communities to stand up for themselves.

Sarma observed, "It is now clear to people that the government itself is violating the law. They have realised their strength and opposition to projects here has gained strength in the last few days."

"The larger issue is that we have created systems that are guzzlers of energy," he added. "We can’t hope to keep adding megawatts like we have been doing so far. The demand for electricity has been artificially created and we have to work on steps like reducing transmission losses, using more efficient end-use devices, and make our systems more efficient."

Meantime, Nagarjuna’s corporate communications head, P L Murari, said the company "would do anything to address the genuine concerns of the local people regarding setting up of the power plant."

But the NEAA’s order cancelling the Sompeta project clearly states: "The Ministry should undertake survey of all wetlands in Srikakulam district for their ecological sensitiveness as soon as possible and pending this, no project should be cleared in such locations." (END)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jairam plays Maha obstructionist - The Economic Times

Jairam plays Maha obstructionist - Politics/Nation - News - The Economic Times
MUMBAI: The work on over a dozen power projects and 55 mines — all in the Konkan region — may come to halt soon with the Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh ordering a status quo on all these projects. “The Union ministry has asked to stay work on these many projects till it receives expert committee’s report on the issue,” a top government official, associated with these projects’ implementation , toldETrequesting anonymity................................
..........Some of the important projects to be affected by the environment ministry’s diktat are: proposed 10,000 mw atomic project at Dhopave in Ratnagiri, 5x800mw imported coal-based ultra mega thermal power project at Girye along with thermal power projects of various capacities at Shahpur, Bhopan, Jaigad, Ranpar, Pavas, Munge and Dhakare. ...................

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Moratorium on projects in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri

Moratorium on project proposals in 2 districts - Pune - City - The Times of India
PUNE: The Union ministry of environment and forests on Friday decided to impose a moratorium on consideration of projects under the environmental impact assessment notification, 2006, received by the ministry or the Maharashtra State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority from Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts after August 16 and till December 2010.

This decision followed concerns raised about the environmental impact and ecological degradation due to the large number of projects being proposed in the region as well as the projects under implementation. The ministry said that there was a need to take necessary regional approach during appraisal of projects.

The matter regarding developmental trends in these two districts was referred to the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel constituted by the ministry for conservation and protection of the Western Ghats region.

The projects were getting cleared in isolation one by one, which was not appropriate, Madhav Gadgil, chairman of the panel, told TOI on Friday. "So the ministry want to take a look at the whole range of developmental activities in these two districts, he added.

Recently, Union minister of environment and forests Jairam Ramesh, who was in Pune, had also pointed out the need to look into the impact on the eco-system due to power projects in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Gadgil told TOI recently that the ministry had sought views on the projects in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. In his presentation on western ghats, Gadgil says that environmental impact assessments completely ignore impacts of power lines associated with power projects. Destructive development projects are going ahead, despite every gram panchayat in the locality resolving that they do not want such activities.

Archana Godbole, member of the Save the Western Ghats movement core group, said that the moratorium was a welcome step. "It gives more time for NGOs and the people to have a say and stop these developmental projects, particularly the thermal power plant and mining projects in these bio-diversity rich places.''

According to Godbole, the proposed mining projects in Sindhudurg are expected to pose a threat to the forest eco-system. Iron ore mining has been proposed in the villages of Asaniye, Kolzar, Zolambe, Talkat, Dongarpal, Udeli and Galel in the Sawantwadi and Dodamarg blocks.

Godbole, who is also the director of the Applied Environmental Research Foundation, a city-based NGO working in the Konkan region, said that the Western Ghats part of Sindhudurg district included the area from the Amboli reserve forest to the westerly slopes through Sawantwadi and Dodamarg blocks to Tilari in the south, bordering Karnataka. The landscape is about 150 sq km and should be declared as ecologically sensitive.

Recently, the ministry has formed a supervisory committee to monitor the impact of suspended particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide due to the coal-based thermal power plant at Jaigad in Ratnagiri district.

Read more: Moratorium on project proposals in 2 districts - Pune - City - The Times of India

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Muttemwar urges PM to intervene in power plant coming in city, IBN Live News

Muttemwar urges PM to intervene in power plant coming in city, IBN Live News

Nagpur, Aug 6 (PTI) Former Union Minister and local MP Vilas Muttemar (Congress) today urged Prime Minister to intervene and direct the Maharashtra Government and Ministry of Environment to shift proposed thermal power plant outside city limits. Muttemwar in a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister said Maharashtra Government has approved a proposal of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to set up a 420 MW Thermal Power plant in city. Nagpur is having a population of approximately 35 lakhs and power requirement is 283 MW as against existing power generation capacity in Vidarbha of 5400 MW. The setting up of a thermal power plant in city will create numerous problems to the people like heavy pollution.The NMC has projected that waste water will be utilised to meet the requirement for electricity generation which was not correct, he said. The authorities will therefore use fresh water which was required actually for the citizens, Muttemwar said in his memorandum, a copy of which was released to press here. The proposed power plant will be consuming 7000 tonnes of coal and 35,000 cubmic metre water and produce 2700 metric tonnes of fly ash and movements of truck will further pollute the environment. About 215 acres of land will be required to dump ash. All this at the cost health of Nagpurians, he said. In this part of Vidarbha region (East), NTPC was setting up 1000 MW super thermal power plant at Mouda (Near Nagpur), Adani Group was setting up 1980 MW plant at Tiroda (Gondia) while capacities of Khaperkheda, Chandrapur are being enhanced. The propriety of setting up new 420 MW power station in the heart of city was being raised, Muttemwar said while expressing his concern, the release added.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wet coal has hit power generation: Ajit Pawar - Mumbai - City - The Times of India

Wet coal has hit power generation: Ajit Pawar - Mumbai - City - The Times of India
MUMBAI: Power generation has been affected in the state as the coal utilised by power projects has got wet in the rains, energy minister Ajit Pawar told TOI.

"As a result, the plants could not generate power to its full capacity. Besides, power generation from Koyna project in western Maharashtra has been kept closed as the work of lake tapping is still on. Moreover, one unit of the power generating unit at Dabhol had stopped production,'' said Pawar.

The state has thermal power plants at Parli, Koradi, Bhusawal, Chandrapur and other places. The minister said that the demand for power had gone up to 15,000 MW in peak summer. "With the onset of monsoon, there is no need for water pumps in fields. Besides, people have reduced the usage of air-conditioners and fans. There is a lot of shortfall and we produce around 9,000 MW now,'' said Pawar.

There is still a shortfall of 4,000 MW, while in summer, the shortfall was 6,000 MW.

He said that due to a good rainfall, many dams where hydro-electricity is generated are filled up. In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the state electricity board supplies power to Thane, Mulund, Bhandup, Vasai-Virar, Navi-Mumbai, Panvel, Kalyan-Dombivli and Ambernath.

Read more: Wet coal has hit power generation: Ajit Pawar - Mumbai - City - The Times of India

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chimney Failures: A setback to Indian Power Sector @

Chimney Failures: A setback to Indian Power Sector @

Punjab Newsline Network

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Chimney Failures: A setback to Indian Power Sector -
Chimney Failures: A setback to Indian Power Sector
By Jagvir Goyal
Jagvir Goyal -
Jagvir Goyal
Recent failure of tall RCC Chimneys, one after another, in India has caused a severe setback to ambitious capacity addition plans of the country!

On July 29, 2010, a part of the 275 metre high RCC Chimney being constructed for 2 X 500 MW thermal power plant at Bhusawal in Maharashtra collapsed, burying many people under the debris. The chimney was being constructed by Gammon India Limited, known to be a leading construction company of the country. The two units of this thermal power plant are scheduled to be run for trial operations in August, 2010 and December, 2010. Now the fate of one of the units is unknown. Clearance of debris, ascertaining the reasons behind chimney failure, restoration of work at chimney site and its completion may consume a lot of extra time. Above all that, the big question, whether the chimney is safe or not to serve the power unit for its designed life lurks in the minds of project authorities!

In May, 2010, a 210 m high tall RCC chimney collapsed at Parichha, near Jhansi, in UP. The chimney couldn’t withstand high wind velocities and went down over more than 40 workers, having their lunch under its shadow. The chimney was recently constructed by National Building Construction Company, NBCC, another major giant in construction sector, for a 500 MW power plant being set up by UP Power Corporation Limited. Now, the operation of the two power units to which the chimney was serving as a twin-flue chimney stands suspended for an indefinite period. Suggestions are afloat to utilize the rotor of Parichha Thermal power plant for Chanderpur Thermal power plant where also, power generation of an unit stands stopped since May 7 due to occurrence of some damage to its rotor.
In September, 2009, an RCC Chimney of a 2 X 600 MW power plant being set up by Bharat Aluminium Company limited (BALCO), a subsidiary of Sterlite Industries limited, at Korba near Raipur in Chhattisgarh state had collapsed, killing scores of workers under its debris. The incident had sent shock waves all over the world. The setting up of the 1200 MW power plant had been assigned by BALCO to Shandong Electric Power Corporation Limited, a Chinese company who had further entrusted the construction work of 275 meter high chimney to Gannon Dunkerley Company Limited.

India has already mastered the art of tall chimney construction. Many tall RCC chimneys are now dotting Indian map, a number of them constructed and completed in record short periods. The equipment is available, the materials are available, skilled manpower is available and the design modules are available. Then why all these failures, one after the other?

The design of each such chimney that fails needs to be checked thoroughly, specially against occurrence of resonance phenomenon under high velocity storm conditions. Such a phenomenon occurs when more than one chimneys are constructed in a thermal project and their frequencies are not mistuned. If the design of chimneys is found safe then clearly, lack of supervision, use of sub-standard materials in construction, non-adherence to the quality control norms and inconsistent checking procedures are behind all these failures.
Chimneys are special structures and need special attention during their construction. Their construction technique is special which requires the concrete to be specifically designed to meet certain of its requirements. During construction of chimneys, a sharp eye has to be kept on verticality, tilt and twist of chimney. One factor ignored and a chimney may come falling down!

A power unit can not be commissioned unless its chimney has been completed and is available to pass the thousands of tones of smoke at a designed height in the atmosphere. Stringent environmental pollution prevention norms have increased the minimum height of chimneys to plus 200 metres, that is more than 3 times the height of Qutab Minar. How can engineers go lax in construction of such important structures?

A plus 200 metre high twin flue chimney consumes more than 2 years for its completion. India, planning to add 100,000 MW to its power map by the year 2012, can’t afford to delay the commissioning of its power units by such a long period!

-Er.Jagvir Goyal is author, Books on Tall Chimney construction

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No chemical project to come up in coastal Konkan region, IBN Live News

No chemical project to come up in coastal Konkan region, IBN Live News:

Mumbai, Jul 27 (PTI) Maharashtra Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare today assured that no chemical projects would be allowed to come up in coastal Konkan region in the backdrop of opposition from locals to some of the proposed power projects in the area. "No chemical projects would be allowed to come up in Konkan. It is necessary to check that water does not get polluted and farming and orchid don't get affected while accepting industrialisation," Tatkare informed the Legislative Council while replying to a discussion over Konkan region. There are 27 thermal power projects proposed in the region of which five would come up in first phase, Tatkare said. The Government has ensured all the affected people to compensate their lands with market value, he said. "The affected people due to upcoming Tata power plant would get Rs 20 lakh per acre, employment to one of the family members and free training from the industry coming there," the minister said. He also hoped that the proposed Jaitapur project would generate 10,000 mw of power and help to curb down the shortage. In order to boost tourism in the region, Tatkare said the Public Works Department has been instructed to join 720 km long coastal route with highways to attract more tourists.MORE PTI SSG AT

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Leopard on the prowl in Goregaon, Mulund - Mumbai - City - The Times of India

Leopard on the prowl in Goregaon, Mulund

Simit Bhagat, TNN, Jul 22, 2010, 12.17am IST

MUMBAI: Residents of New MHADA Colony, Goregaon (E) have been hosting an unusual guest these days. For the past few weeks, a leopard has been regularly straying into the residential area, hunting for stray dogs.

On Monday, the leopard entered Sankalp Siddhi society, Dindoshi, on the periphery of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), and was spotted sitting near the compound wall at 2 am.

Residents said the watchman, Jamil S, first spotted the leopard and alerted them. It was around 2 am that I saw the leopard in the lane near the society. I immediately alerted one of the society members, who was standing right besides me, Jamil said.

The leopard was sitting near the lane for more than couple of hours. Amit Lotlikar, a nature lover and resident of Sankalp Siddhi Society said, This is not the first time the leopard has been spotted in the area. We have been spotting the big cat along with its three cubs for nearly one year. It seems to be injured and is limping.

Interestingly, on Sunday, another leopard was spotted by a group of residents in Rock Garden society in Yogi Hills, Mulund around 9 pm. There too, the cat was first spotted by the watchman of the society, who warned residents not to step out of their homes. The residents immediately informed the police control room and the cops reached the site quickly, but by then the leopard had vanished into the forest.

However, people living in these areas are now living under the fear of moving out of their homes late in the evening.

As Suresh Rajyaguru, chairman of Sankalp Siddhi society said, These days the big cat has been straying into the area a bit too regularly. It is scary.

Animal Vs Man

l Between 2001 and 2004, there were 89 incidents of leopard attacks on humans. But that has come down drastically. In 2007 and 2008, there were only one and two injuries respectively to humans due to leopard attacks

l The forest department trapped around 22 leopards in areas like Powai, Aarey Colony, Borivli and Thane in

2004-2005, and shifted them to other forest areas in Maharashtra. It also carried out awareness drives among locals and ran a mobile squad for regular patrols to monitor animal movements

l Though attacks on humans have come down, sightings of the big cat in peripheral areas of the SGNP have gone up. In February 2010, a leopard was spotted on two days by security guards of Siddhachal Phase VI Complex in Thane. Earlier, in November 2008, a leopard was spotted at a factory in Kolshet area of Kapurbawadi in Thane

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New worry for power utility, 8 old units unviable

New worry for power utility, 8 old units unviable:

Vivek Deshpande Posted online: Sun Jul 18 2010, 03:06 hrs
Nagpur : Even as Maharashtra races against time to plug the ever-increasing demand-supply gap, it is facing another crisis that may push its deadline for zero loadshedding to a later date.

At least eight units of Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco), more than 30 years old, are leading to losses to the extent that Mahagenco has decided to shut them down. Parali units 1 and 2, Paras unit 2, Bhusaval and Koradi units 1 to 4 together posted losses worth around Rs 150 crore in 2009-10. As a result, Mahagenco shut down four units of Koradi Thermal Power Station days ago.

“However, with the Maharashtra State Power Transmission Company (Mahavitaran) agreeing to buy power at merchant (commercial) rates, Mahagenco has decided to restart the units and is mulling forming a separate company to run the vintage units on merchant basis if Mahavitaran or Reliance is ready to buy power from them at merchant rates,” managing director Subrata Ratho told The Sunday Express.

Ratho, replying to a question whether Mahagenco had restarted the units under pressure from some local politicians who want them to run to favour a contractors’ lobby, said, “Not at all.” “We were talking to Mahavitaran whether we can run the plants on merchant basis in October-November. Because of Dabhol generation dipping suddenly by 1,000 MW and restrictions on Koyna generation, Mahavitaran has written to us stating they are ready to buy power at merchant rates. That’s why we decided to restart these units,” he added.

Asked if these units getting old meant new units and plants being built would maintain the present production instead of adding to it, Ratho said, “the original idea was to run them till adequate capacity is created, but the losses have become too heavy. So, we have to see if they can be run on merchant basis....”

Chhattisgarh case against Jindal Power - India - The Times of India

Chhattisgarh case against Jindal Power - India - The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Jindal Power Ltd (JPL) could be in for more trouble with the Chhattisgarh government filing legal proceedings against the company for illegally starting work on its 2,400 MW thermal power project in the state.

The proceedings have been launched by the Chhatisgarh Pollution Control Board after it was found that the company, whose board is chaired by Congress MP Naveen Jindal, had begun construction at the site without prior environmental clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) as per the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1976.

The Rs 13,410-crore project faced roadblocks when on June 18 MoEF retracted the terms of reference (ToR) granted for the expansion of the project from 1,000 MW to 2,400 MW. The retraction came in the wake of a complaint from an NGO alleging illegal construction without requisite clearance.

On May 22, the ministry sent an inspection team and found rampant construction for the proposed facility within the premises of the existing one which was in violation of Section 2 of the EIA Notification, 2006, under the EPA, 1976.
JPL had applied for the expansion phase of the plant in April 2007, while the 1,000 MW plant was still under construction. The expansion was to be of 1,320 MW and located adjacent to the 1,000 MW plant. The land requirement was pegged at 750 hectares. The ToRs were granted in July 2007.

In August 2008, the company proposed another expansion of 1,600 MW. It was granted TORs in December 2008. JPL revised the proposal yet again in early 2009, and fixed the new expansion capacity at 2,400 MW. This time around, it required 1,041 hectares of land. The state government ordered a public hearing under the EPA on April 5, 2010, but JPL allegedly had begun construction on the expansion way ahead of the processes that precede environmental clearance.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jindal pays for flouting law | Down To Earth

Jindal pays for flouting law | Down To Earth

JINDAL Power Limited (JPL), the power bigwig of the private arena in India, is making news.

In the spotlight is the 2,400 MW expansion of the company’s existing 1,000 MW coal-based thermal power facility at Tamnar village in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh.

The Rs 13,410-crore project hit a roadblock on June 18 when the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) retracted the terms of reference (TOR) granted for the expansion. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is done based on these TORs. The retraction came in the wake of a complaint from an NGO alleging illegal construction; illegal because the company did not obtain the requisite environmental clearance (see: Attention, environment minister). more


Solar Cheaper than Nukes | RenewablesBiz

Solar Cheaper than Nukes | RenewablesBiz

Solar Cheaper than Nukes

Bill Opalka | Jul 15, 2010


The last time I caught up with NC WARN the group caused quite a stir with its call to eliminate coal-fired generation in North Carolina in 15 years.

The group, whose moniker stands for waste awareness & reduction network, is at it again with a new report that said a "historic crossover" has occurred between the costs of building solar installations and new nuclear plants. The report said that the state's utilities have rejected solar energy in favor of nuclear plants that require massive public subsidies and additional transfer of financial risks to electricity customers and taxpayers.

"North Carolina should be leading, not lagging, in the transition to clean energy," said John Blackburn, the former chancellor of Duke University and emeritus chair of its economics department.

He also said the fast-growing worldwide solar industry is poised to bring thousands of manufacturing and installation jobs to North Carolina.

Clean energy advocates point out that solar photovoltaic (PV) for home systems, rooftop installations on businesses and utility-scale plants have fallen rapidly in recent years and that trend is expected to accelerate over the next decade. WARN also said that delays and design issues still dog nuclear plants.

Blackburn said an "apples to apples" cost comparison, net of incentives for both technologies, was based on interviews and published reports of solar trends and cost estimates to build nuclear plants.

Blackburn, who produced the report for clean energy nonprofit NC WARN, was assisted by Sam Cunningham, a master's candidate at the Duke University Nicholas School for the Environment. The authors emphasized that solar prices should be compared to new nuclear plant costs, and that electric rates will rise much less with a clean-energy approach.

Jindal power plant risk to alphonsos | Down To Earth

Jindal power plant risk to alphonsos | Down To Earth: "Jindal power plant risk to alphonsos"

Jindal power plant risk to alphonsos

Author(s): Reshma Jathar
Issue: Jul 31, 2010

It can function without treating SO2, says environment ministry

imageSO2 emissions can char mango flowers (Photo: Satyajit Chavan)THE Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has bent backward to commission the 1,200 MW thermal plant in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, promoted by the Jindal group.

The ministry has agreed to let the plant function without the flue gas desulfurization (FGD) unit needed to remove sulphur dioxide (SO2) from the flue gas emitted by burning coal. The company, JSW Energy Limited, has been given three years to install the unit.

JSW had approached the ministry on June 21 seeking permission to operate the plant without the FGD unit costing Rs 527 crore. The ministry agreed and ordered the constitution of a supervisory panel to monitor SO2 levels. The panel, headed by P Pujari, horticulture professor at Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, will identify mango orchards for installing SO2 monitoring stations. Their data will be uploaded on JSW’s website. The plant in Jaigad tehsil is surrounded by alphonso mango orchards.

Farmers and activists have opposed the project from the outset. “At least 900 hectares (ha) near the plant are under mango cultivation. The quality of alphonso mangoes here is very high and they are exported to developed countries that have strict quality certification,” said Vivek Bhide, a mango orchard owner in Malgund near Jaigad. “If the plant is commissioned, we will face difficulties in getting export certification,” he added.

The Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth has been studying the possible impact of the project on alphonso mangoes in the area for the Jindals for a year. Pujari said the report cannot be made public till it is completed. Asked about the commissioning of the plant without the FGD unit, Pujari said the ministry’s permission is conditional. He said the plant’s impact on mango orchards would be known only when monitoring begins. JSW spokesperson Rouhan Sharma refused to comment.

Experts said the emissions will affect the orchards. “Mango flowers are very delicate. They can get charred by air laden with SO2. The emissions can also cause acid rain; even acidic dew drops can affect the flowers,” said P R Arun, an environmental consultant in Mumbai. The Delhi High Court had earlier asked the ministry’s expert appraisal committee to re-examine the project’s environmental clearance. The committee while favouring the plant’s commissioning had said the emissions would benefit the mango orchards (see “Coal emissions nourish trees’, Down To Earth, February 28, 2010).

“It took us almost 10 years to get an FGD unit installed at the 500 MW Dahanu thermal power station in Thane district despite a Supreme Court order,” said Michelle Chawla of Tamarind Tree, a non-profit in Dahanu. “Even after the unit was installed, there is no study on its effectiveness,” she said.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some more EIA lies | Down To Earth

Villagers nail EIA lies | Down To Earth: "Villagers nail EIA lies"

Draft report says:

  • The EIA project consultant, Shiva Test House, says project land is barren
  • Dwells on the population within a 10 km radius to hide the population density near the site
  • Shows Roksa village at 3 km distance from site; mentions a river Baya
  • Project will draw 300 cubic metre groundwater daily but does not show what impact it will have on people

Ground reality:

  • The site and its adjoining farms grow mangoes, lychees, wheat, rice, seasonal vegetables and mustard
  • The site is surrounded by eight schools and eight villages with populations ranging from 8,000 to 20,000.
  • Roksa is 600-700 metres from the site; there is no river Baya in the area
  • No surveys conducted for preparing baseline data

Coal emissions nourish trees. :)

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) | Down To Earth: ‘Coal emissions nourish trees’
Author(s): Nidhi Jamwal
Issue: Feb 28, 2010
Environment ministry pushes Jindal power plants in Konkan

An expert� panel of the Union environment ministry has justified the setting up of coal-fired power plants in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It has said the thermal power plants may prove beneficial for mango plantations as the trees could draw sustenance from the oxides of sulphur and nitrogen emitted by them. Ratnagiri is famous for its Alphonso mangoes and farmers here export their produce to Europe."

47new power plants in Vidarbha- 33000MW

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) | Down To Earth: "
47 power plants in Vidarbha
Author(s): Aparna Pallavi
Issue: Feb 28, 2010
Why set up thermal plants when the region is power surplus?

Maharashtra’s target is to generate 33,000 MW from 47 new thermal power plants. This is a measure for its power-starved western part; some of it would go to the Nor-thern Grid. Vidarbha, in eastern Maha-rashtra, is power surplus; the region produces 67 per cent of the total power in the state. A chunk of this is already supplied to western Maharashtra. Why then is the state keen on 47 more power plants?"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New policy gets tough on PILs against projects

New policy gets tough on PILs against projects

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 1, 2010, 12.52am IST
NEW DELHI: Petitioners contemplating PILs against ongoing projects on environment grounds might want to do a rethink. The government's new litigation policy calls for petitioners to be slapped with costs for stoppage of projects that are in public interest.

This approach is a prominent part of the National Litigation Policy (NLP) announced recently by law minister Veerappa Moily and is a response to PILs that lack merit. Though a majority of PILs challenging projects are ultimately dismissed, they succeed in delaying work.

The NLP drafted by attorney-general G E Vahanvati says, "PILs challenging public contract must be seriously defended. If interim orders are passed stopping such projects, then appropriate condition must be insisted upon for petitioners to pay compensation if the PIL is ultimately rejected."

The policy, the government argues, is meant for those petitioners who rush to courts with PILs to merely get publicity immediately after a controversy over a social, political or legislative issue. Critics, however, are likely to argue that the policy will curb public spirited actions.

"It must be recognized that several PILs are filed for collateral reasons, including publicity, and at the instance of third parties. Such litigation must be exposed as being not bonafide," the NLP stressed.

However, NLP does not envisage all PILs as ill-intentioned or bad in law and talks about the need for government to adopt a balanced approach. "On the one hand, PILs should not be taken as a matter of convenience to let the courts do what government finds inconvenient," it said.

A good example of the government turning to the courts to bail it out was the reference on the Ayodhya issue sent by the President to the Supreme Court, immediately after the December 6, 1992 demolition of the disputed shrine. The reference sought an opinion on whether a Ram temple pre-existed the Babri mosque.
The SC had returned the reference without offering an opinion.

The NLP recognizes that an increase in the number of PILs in high courts and the Supreme Court stemmed from a perception that the government was not doing what it was supposed to do or due to a lethargic bureaucracy. "This perception must be changed," it says. The proposal to link costs with dismissal of PILs is, however, bound to be controversial.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Env Ministry to look into power plant's impact on mango crop

Press Trust of India / New Delhi June 29, 2010, 15:09 IST

Taking serious note of complaints of Alphonso mango growers, the Environment Ministry has warned power producer JSW Energy Ltd that it will have to shut down its proposed plant in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra if its operations have adverse impact on fruit production.
The Ministry has also set up a panel to monitor the impact of the JSW group's 1200 MW coal-based plant operation, which is yet to be started, on the fruit production in the horticulture zone, Environment Ministry officials said.
With the locals expressing concerns that the plant will emit toxic gases spelling disaster to the fruit production, the ministry has asked the power firm to strictly follow the schedule for commissioning Rs 527 crore worth Flue Gas Desulfurisation (FGD) technology. FGD is a environment-friendly technology used for removing sulphur dioxide (SO2) from the exhaust flue gases of fossil fuel power plants using coals.
The ministry has made it clear to the company that it will reduce the power generation and change to a fuel with low sulphur content or close the power plant if SO2 emissions exceed the prescribed standards.
The three-member panel constituted by the ministry is headed by horticulturist P Pujari from Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth with a mandate to identify stations to monitor sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the region.
The other members include Girish Sant, Prayas Pune and member Secretary of Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board.
The other mandate of the committee include identifying the range of variations of SO2 levels that are safe for various phases of the plants such as vegetative, flowering and fruiting.
The committee, which will be funded by the project proponent, to execute its work has also been asked to monitor the yield potential and quality of the Alphonso mango as well.
According to a study by scientists from the Lucknow-based Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, published in the Journal of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology in December 1999, SO2 reduces the quality and quantity of mangoes.
Ratnagiri farmers had approached the Mumbai High Court too fearing that the flyash and SO2 pollution will spell disaster for the mango orchards as well other crops in the region that, in 1997, was declared a horticulture zone.
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Environment Ministry had given clearance to the thermal power plant located in Jaigad in May 2007

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prized India Mangos May Curb JSW Energy's Power Project Plans in Heartland - Bloomberg

Prized India Mangos May Curb JSW Energy's Power Project Plans in Heartland - Bloomberg

Prized India Mangos May Curb JSW Energy's Power Project Plans in Heartland

JSW Energy Ltd., an affiliate of India’s third-largest steelmaker, may have to scale back or shut down its biggest planned power project if pollution threatens mango crops near the plant, the Environment Ministry said.

JSW Energy plans to build a 1,200-megawatt, coal-fired power plant in Ratnagiri, the heart of an agricultural zone where India’s prized Alphonso mangos are grown.

“If at any point of time adverse impacts on mango orchards are noticed or established, the plant shall be shut down,” according to a letter to the company dated June 28, posted on the ministry’swebsite and verified by ministry spokeswomen Kalpana Palkhiwala in New Delhi by telephone.

The company was notified of changes to the environment clearance awarded to the project on April 16 in response to concerns that sulfur dioxide emissions may harm nearby mango crops.Sulfur dioxide is produced when coal is burned and can lead to acid rain, smog and haze, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sharmila Banerjee, a spokeswoman for the JSW Group, didn’t answer phone calls or immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

India accounts for more than half of the world’s mango production, according to theAgricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. The Asian nation’s export of the fruit rose 33 percent to 1.7 billion rupees ($36 million) in the year ended March 31, 2009, according to the agency.

JSW Energy has told the ministry it will reduce output, change to a cleaner-burning fuel or close the proposed plant if it exceeds prescribed sulfur-dioxide emission levels, according to the letter.

The company’s current capacity is 1,000 megawatts, Managing Director Sajjan Jindal said Nov. 17. The utility plans to add at least 2,800 megawatts, of which the Ratnagiri plant is the biggest single project, according to its website.

JSW Energy is an affiliate of JSW Steel Ltd. based in Mumbai.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Obiko Pearson in Mumbai