CHENNAI: After a rap by the National Green Tribunal, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) has come up with a `200-crore action plan to clean up flyash from the Buckingham Canal and the Kosasthalayar Basin. Ruling out that Ennore Creek is being polluted by North Chennai Thermal Power Station, a top official from Tangedco told Express that the action plan would be submitted to the National Green Tribunal on Thursday.
“We have already cleared the ash deposits along the banks of Kosasthalayar, which leaked from the cast iron pipe. We will be submitting the photos as evidence,” said the official. “We used poclain excavators to clean up the deposits of ash, which was pointed out to us due to leakage in the 7-km-to-8-km-long pipeline,” the official said.
The clean up exercise will be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, focus would be on plugging the leaks in the pipeline. “For this we have allocated `5 crore. The pipelines will be patched up immediately,” the official said.
“In the next stage we are allocating `200 crore to replace the entire pipeline. This would take nearly 12 to 16 months as we have to shut down the pipes one by one to carry out the replacement,” the official said.
He said the pipelines are 25-year-old and have small punctures from which the slurry, that is transported from the North Chennai Thermal Power Station to the ash pond in the government land near the Ennore Creek, gets leaked and gets deposited here and there.
He also denied that Tangedco has anything to do with polluting the Ennore Creek. “The land where the ash pond is located is government land alloted to us when the thermal plant came up. We are clearing the ash as and when the pond fills up,” he said.
The action plan by Tangedco was drafted after the NGT on July 11 warned it that its North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) would be shut down if discharge of toxic fly ash into waterbodies at Ennore was not contained within a week.
The green bench has also proposed to form a committee, comprising soil scientist, hydrologists and biodiversity experts, to assess the impacts to creek, mangroves, the Buckingham canal and other waterbodies during the course of clean-up.
The NCTPS drew a flak from the Comptroller and Auditor General Report, which stated that the plant was operating without the consent of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.
Action plan to clean up flyash from the Buckingham Canal and Kosasthalayar Basin
Fly ash deposited in waterbodies due to leakage in 25-year-old cast iron pipe
TANGEDCO has allocated C5 crore to patch up the leaks
C200 crore allocated to replace the entire pipeline
Project to be carried out in 12 to 16 months