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Chamalapura Thermal Power Plant : Powering the State, Disempowering People

The State Government of Karnataka proposed to site a 1000 MW coal fired thermal power plant at Chamalapura, H.D.Kote taluk, Mysore district in early 2007 as a BOO model public-private partnership. Right from the beginning, this proposal was met with stiff resistance from project affected people, environmentalists and social action groups.

ESG supported the efforts of the project affected communities through its research efforts, successfully demonstrating that crucial questions of techno-economic viability, socio-economic and environmental impacts and environmental guidelines of the Centre and the State had been ignored while arriving at the siting decision.

Rising resistance of the local people to the project forced the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to take serious note of the petition filed in October 2007 by M/s.Mysore Grahakara Parishat (a non profit initiative) under Section 86(2) of the Indian Electricity Act, 2003 urging the Hon'ble Commission to enquire into the desirability of setting up a 1000 MW coal fired TPP at Chamalapura. In an unprecedented move, the KERC initiated a public hearing process on the basis of the issues raised in this petition in order to enquire into the desirability of the proposal, in March 2008. ESG participated in the public hearing process, and made a written submission strongly arguing against the site selection process of the State Government.

Taking cognizance of the submissions made by project affected villagers, Gram Panchayat members, social action groups (including ESG), environmentalists and concerned citizens in the course of the Public Hearing, the KERC in its order dated 19th May 2008 , observed that the "bidding process lack(ed) transparency" and was carried out in "an extremely casual manner." The KERC also recommended that the State Government should take a de-novo decision on the Chamalapura proposal, after looking into all relevant aspects like "environment and heritage, land acquisition, fuel linkage, water supply... ... and so on." To read ESG’s submission to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, click here. To read the full text of the KERC order, click here.

The State Government of Karnataka, soon after, deferred the proposal to establish a 1000 MW power plant at Chamalapura. However, no further official announcement has been made indicating the project status – it is unclear at present if the proposal will be revived or cancelled.

ESG is an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes the cause of environmental and social justice through research, documentation, advocacy, training and campaign support. We aim to support the rights of local communities and voiceless ecosystems in a responsible, progressive manner that keeps contextual complexities in mind.