CHENNAI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has warned the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO) that its North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) would be shut down if discharge of toxic fly ash into water bodies at Ennore, thereby polluting them, is not contained within a week.
When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, petitioner’s counsel played a 30-minute video clipping on the kind of environmental degradation caused by the thermal power plant.
Following this the bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and expert member PS Rao, expressed anger over the TANGEDCO not complying with the tribunal’s order.
The tribunal had earlier passed an order restraining NCTPS from discharging the fly ash or slurry in the adjacent water bodies, which are already in deep distress and remove the already dumped fly ash from Buckingham Canal and Kosasthalaiyar river.
TANGEDCO had indeed removed the fly ash, but again started dumping it irking the tribunal.
Local activists claim that about 300 acres of the Ennore creek is dumped with fly ash and slurry. While issuing the warning, the bench directed TANGEDCO to plug the fly ash pipeline leakage within a week.
The body was also asked to submit a plan to replace all old pipes, which are about 25 years old, and directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to prosecute errant TANGEDCO officials under Air and Water (Prevention and Control) pollution Acts.
The green bench has also proposed to form a committee, comprising soil scientist, hydrologist and biodiversity experts, to assess the impacts to creek, mangroves, Buckingham canal and other water bodies during the course of clean-up.
Passing orders on another relevant petition, the bench appointed Lakshmi Narasimhan as advocate-commissioner to look into the pipeline leakage as to whether it was incidental or intentional and submit a report.