Trust goes to NGT for nixing power project
Further, there is continuous emission of gases due to which the entire area is getting polluted,” the petition says.
BENGALURU: A day after a blast occurred at the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd’s (KPCL) gas-based power plant in Yelahanka, which left 15 employees with burns, members of the Yelahanka Puttenahalli Lake and Bird Conservation Trust filed an interlocutory application before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday, requesting it to stop the power company from constructing and commissioning the 370 MW power plant. They have also appealed to the tribunal that the environmental clearance for the project be cancelled.
Plant poses threat to Puttenahalli bird reserve: Residents’ petition
The blast at the gas-based combined cycle power plant has created fear among the residents of Yelahanka and Puttenahalli as it comes close on the heels of the styrene gas leak from the chemical plant of LG Polymers at Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. In its application before the NGT, a copy of which is with TNSE, the trust pointed out that in May 2020, they had written to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and BBMP Commissioner mentioning about the blasts happening at the site, the vibrations and the rising air pollution.
“People living in the vicinity have seen some type of froth being discharged continuously from the plant. It rises high in the air, causing severe air pollution and health hazards. Further, there is continuous emission of gases due to which the entire area is getting polluted,” the petition says. It also pointed that there is an abnormal increase in heat and rise in air, noise and light pollution due to the presence of the power plant. This has direct bearing on the birds in Puttenahalli Bird Conservation Reserve. Changes in air temperature due to stack emissions affect the migratory pattern of birds and the deposition of pollutants on the water body, are serious issues which need to be addressed immediately, it said.
“There is no mention of any safety measures taken, or the safety measures taken so far were not enough to prevent the blast. Fortunately, the gas leak did not spread to the vicinity of the lake and the residential areas, which would otherwise, have caused huge havoc and loss of bird habitat and human lives,” the trust contended. “The environmental clearance, obtained in 2015, is void ab initio and is a nullity since it has been issued without taking into consideration the facts of the protect area. KPCL had concealed prior knowledge it had about the declaring the lake as a Bird Conservation Reserve.
The plant is between two lakes — Yelahanka lake and Puttenahalli Lake — which would lead to immense environmental degradation and affect the flow of water into the lakes. The power plant is within 500mts of the lakes, hence the power to grant environmental clearances is only with MoEFCC and not SEIAA,” it said. The trust members quoted the MoEFCC February 2011 guidelines and said the plant is a red category industry and an activity of great environmental footprint covered under the EIA Notification, 2006, is prohibited from being set up in the vicinity of protected areas and the power plant is being established in an area where no pollution control measures are possible.