Andhra power plant trips on environmental clearance

National Environment Appellate Authority finds the builder misled authorities


Neha Sethi | July 15, 2010

A day after four persons lost their lives while protesting the inauguration of a thermal power plant in Sompeta of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) on Thursday quashed the environmental clearance granted for the project.

Nagarjuna Construction Company had earlier got permission to set up a 2x660 MW super critical coal-based thermal power plant. However, the NEAA, in its order, a copy of which is available with Governance Now, said "the Beela swamp of Sompeta is very important from environmental angle which support economy of several villages".  

Ritwick Dutta, the lawyer fighting the case against the company, told Governance Now that Nagarjuna had claimed that the site was chosen because it was barren land. The NEAA, in its order, however, said the site falls under an "internationally recognised wetland ecosystem" and that it had been declared an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International UK and Bombay Natural History Society.

The earlier environmental clearance had not taken into account the fact that the plant would cause toxicity with widespread effect on human and marine life over a radius of 10 km, the order said.



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