Action on the Issue
In response to a petition (OP18/07) filed by the Mysore Grahakara Samiti, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission initiated public hearing proceedings on the 06 March 2008, to look into the matter of the desirability of establishing 1000 MW coal based power projects at different places in Karnataka, including one at Chamalapura, Mysore District. The initial hearing on the 06 March 2008 was followed by a site visit by the members of the KERC to the project affected villages on 20 March 2008 and a final hearing on the 03 April 2008.
Along with residents from project affected villages and citizens’ groups, ESG was also a part of the public hearing proceedings.
In its submission before the KERC challenging the State’s decision to site a coal fired thermal power plant at Chamalapura, ESG raised the following key concerns:
- The Chamalapura project was initiated without following the clearance procedure prescribed under the law. The advertisements inviting the Global Invitation for Expression of Interest from investors interested in the project were floated in February 2007, but the project received in-principle clearance from the State High Level Clearance Committee headed by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, only on the 29 September 2007.
- The Government of Karnataka has granted in-principle clearance to the allocation of 3.9 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet) of water for use by three power plants (including the one at Chamalapura) from the Cauvery River Basin. However, data accessed from the Karnataka Water Resources Department and the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Ltd. for the decade of 1997-2008, clearly demonstrate that the Kabini River (which is in the Cauvery Basin) does not have even 1.56 TMC of water that is claimed to be needed for the 1,000 MW Chamalapura power plant and its ancillary facilities.
- Chamalapura as a site for a 1000 MW coal fired thermal power plant does not satisfy the requirements prescribed by the Guidelines for Siting Thermal Power Plants, 1987 of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) or the Siting Standards prescribed by the Karnataka Dept of Ecology & Environment & the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
To read ESG’s submission to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, click here.
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 to set up 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 the full text of the KERC order, click here.
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.