UDUPI: In what comes as a big blow to Adani’s Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) in Yellur village of Udupi, the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal on Thursday ordered the suspension of the Environmental Clearance dated August 1, 2017, granted to expand the plant. The proposal was to add two 800 MW units to raise its capacity to 2,800 MW by 2020.
The tribunal appointed a committee of experts to ascertain the damage to crops and the environment in the area. It has directed the company to pay `5 crore as an interim environmental compensation to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which will also be the nodal agency to study the damage caused. It has also ordered the company to pay ` 1lakh as cost to the petitioner — Balakrishna Shetty, executive president, Janajagruthi Samithi, Nandikoor, Udupi.
Reacting to the development, UPCL’s AGM Girish Navada said experts from the company will appeal before the Supreme Court against this order.
Shetty told reporters that the bench found that issues raised by the villagers and the applicants had not been given due attention. He said Environmental Clearance (EC) dated March 20, 1997, was granted without following due process. The bench was told there has been damage caused to the environment, the consequences of which are being experienced by the people in terms of health and decline in agricultural productivity. The tribunal took a serious note of the study carried out on “Environmental Profile and People’s Livelihood aspects in the vicinity of Coal Based Thermal Power Plant’ by a group of scientists.
The bench was also apprised of the matter that there was dust on the leaves during the dry season which induced phytotoxicity leading to poor pollination and hence reduced productivity in paddy and other crops.