Environmentalists oppose thermal power plant

Nagapattinam (Tamil Nadu): An umbrella organisation of environmentalists on Friday opposed a private firm`s plan to build a Rs 7,000 crore thermal power plant in the district, saying discharge of flyash and bottom ash would harm coastal ecology and lead to extinction of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.

"Flyash and bottom ash content will get into the marine environment and spoil the coastal ecology.The endangered Olive Ridley turtles, which visit this coastal stretch for nesting will face extinction if the plant is allowed to to be set up." Jesurethinam, convenor of Coastal Action Network, said. She was among hundreds of environmental activists and villagers of Perunthottam, who gathered at a public hearing got up by district officials here to discuss various aspects of the plant.

She also said the proposed plant would lead to displacement and migration of agricultural farmers and Dalit labourers due to loss of agricultural lands, besides depriving fishermen of marine resources which would be lost due to thermal pollution.

The 1,320 MW coal based thermal plant is proposed to be set up by Sindya Power Generating Company Pvt Ltd (SPGCPL) at Perunthottam village in Sirkazhi taluk on about 594 acres. Some at the meeting voiced support to the project, arguing that it would usher in development, provide employment and supply electricity to the state, facing power shortage.

SPGCPL on its part said it would construct houses for 93 families in the village and a temple and had budgeted Rs 15.20 crore to implement the Corporate Social Responsibility schemes during the four year construction period. It also said Rs 635 Crore had been earmarked to implement the Environmental Management Plan for the project.