VIJAYAWADA: A Joint Committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to check alleged violations of environmental norms by Simhadri Super Thermal Power Project (NTPC Limited) said the power generation unit has to pay Rs 8.26 crore for the failure to comply with the conditions of Environmental Clearance and Consent issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) The amount has to be paid to the APPCB.
Further, it has to comply with suggestions and recommendations in the study reports of environmental impact assessment on water, air, soil, and agriculture crops and impact assessment on human health. Battu Satish Reddy from Pittavanipalem in Pedagantyada mandal, Visakhapatnam petitioned the NGT regarding the non-compliance of the conditions in the Environmental Clearance by the power plant and conditions imposed by the APPCB.
He alleged that there was non-maintenance of the pollution control mechanism in a proper way and also mismanagement of the fly ash generated and pollution caused to air, water, and soil resulting in huge health hazards to people in the locality.
Going through the allegations, the tribunal on November 23 last appointed a Joint Committee consisting of Vizag district collector, a senior officer from the MoEFCC, a senior officer from CPCB and a senior officer from APPCB to inspect the area and submit a factual as well as action taken report. The joint committee visited Pittavanipalem and surrounding villages and interacted with people.
People complained of huge dust emissions from the ash pond, particularly during the summer season, health issues like skin allergies, breathing problems and cancer due to pollution from NTPC Limited, contamination of groundwater in the surrounding villages due to pollution from the power plant, lack of medical facilities to villages and lack of job opportunities to the villagers from the power plant. They also complained that ash from NTPC is entering into a creek leading to the sea during heavy rains, thereby decreasing the fish wealth and thereby affecting fishermen’s livelihood.
The committee visited the power plant and carried out the ambient air quality and stack monitoring. It also collected samples from piezo wells, bore wells and effluent for further analysis. Soil samples and groundwater samples were also collected.
During analysis of ambient air quality, it was observed that PM10 values exceeded the norms. Emission monitoring for the stack attached to coal fired boilers found that certain values of particular matter like SO2 and NO2 were higher than standard values. It did not find any problem with water and soil samples.
The Committee, in its report, said that detailed implementation status of rehabilitation master plan for rehabilitation of 150 families, compensation package, training facility etc were not submitted. The unit did develop a green belt around the ash dyke for controlling fugitive dust emission, the panel found.
Lack of actions by Simhadri Power Project
- The power plant has not installed adequate high-pressure mist spray sprinklers at coal storage yards to control fugitive emissions
- It has not adopted a mechanism for continuous monitoring of groundwater
- It failed to establish a good network of observation wells in consultation with the central groundwater board