Prized India Mangos May Curb JSW Energy's Power Project Plans in Heartland
By Natalie Obiko Pearson - Jun 29, 2010
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.
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.