RAMANATHAPURAM : Acceding to the request of TANGEDCO to amend the environment clearance (EC) granted to the 2x800 MW Uppur Supercritical Thermal Power Plant, worth `12,655 crore, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has removed special condition number XLIV which says, “No waterbodies including natural drainage system shall be disturbed due to activities associated with the setting up/operations of the plant.”
To fight a legal battle, particularly a writ petition filed by Anaithu Vivasayigal Paadukappu Nala Sangam at the Madras High Court, demanding not to divert the natural water body from the project site as it is a mandatory condition in the EC, TANGEDCO had asked the union ministry to remove the particular condition, on August 13. An Expert Appraisal Committee on Environmental Impact Assessment of Thermal Power Projects, chaired by Dr Navin Chandra, removed this condition on August 30 and sent the amended EC on September 15 to the Tamil Nadu government.
As per the amended EC clearance, a copy of which is available with Express, the special condition has been substituted to read, “Artificial canal shall be constructed to divert the surplus water from the Nagananthal and Valamavur tanks (as it was originally flowing through the project site) across the southern boundary of the project (partly crossing through small strip of the project) and shall meet the creek on the Southern side of the project where it was originally discharging into the creek to maintain the water flow to preserve mangroves.”
The first EC for establishing the thermal power plant on 995.16 acres of land, out of which 227.36 acres are poromboke land, 499.272 acres are dry patta land (dry) and 268.499 acres are wet patta land, falling in the villages Thiruppalaikudi, Valamavoor and Uppur, was accorded on May 2016.
“As per the factual report based on the site visit of the ministry’s Southern Regional Office and submitted on July 23, there are about 37 water storage tanks on the upstream of the power plant.
Out of these, Naganathal and Valamavur tanks share their boundary with the plant. Surplus water from Naganathal tank reaches Valamavur tank. Further, Valamavur tank’s surplus water will join the Bay of Bengal by crossing the portion of the project site. Project proponent is yet to execute the diversion of the surplus of water through the detour canal,” reads the amended EC.