OPG Power’s plans for huge thermal plant on the Gujarat coast under scrutiny by MoEF

Flamingos off the Gujarat coast
A recent National Assessment of Shoreline Change showed the Bhadreshwar coast in red - meaning that it is eroding the fragile coastal ecosystem rapidly.

A massive thermal power plant planned on the Kutch coast in Gujarat continues to face pressures from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). OPG Power Gujarat Private Limited is behind the project, which threatens the sensitive coastal environment of Bhadreshwar. There are accusations that OPG Power did not carry out its obligations to hold public hearings, as well as violations of state government directives to not begin any activity until environmental clearance was obtained. There are also accusations that the company only made limited disclosures to the state environment ministry of its plans to setup a 300 MW plant and simultaneously sought clearance from the MoEF to expand from 300 to 2600 MW. Local group, Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti (MASS) brought this fact to the notice of MoEF.

In the backdrop of such complaints, in July of 2010, an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF reviewed and rejected a proposal by the company to build a water intake channel and suggested that the company can consider a pipleline instead. In December 2010, a site visit by A. Senthilvel, Additional Director, MoEF resulted in a report that identified gaps in the Environmental Impact Assessment filed for the project. It was also found that attempts were made to hide construction activity that was taking place. Based on this report, the MoEF issued a show cause notice to OPG Power on 15 December 2010. The notice also instructed that status quo be maintained on the site. OPG were to file their response in 15 days. It is not clear what the final decision on the project will be.

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