The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) has accepted a key recommendation noted in a critical assessment on water contamination surrounding the Koradi and Khaperkheda Thermal Power Stations in Nagpur, four months after the report was released.
The Chief Engineer of the Khaperkheda Thermal Power Station (KTPS) released a letter on Thursday announcing the creation of an Environment Surveillance Committee with 17 members to monitor and guarantee compliance with the KTPS’ pollution abatement.
According to the letter, the committee is led by the KTPS chief engineer, who is joined by other officials responsible for fly ash and effluent pollution control, a representative from the non-governmental organisation Centre for Sustainable Development (CFSD), and sarpanches from the five villages affected by the project: Chincholi, Bhanegaon, Chankapur, Waregaon, and Suradevi.
Members will convene once every three months, according to the letter, and the Committee’s major role will be to oversee environmental compliance in the region around KTPS.
“This monitoring committee constituted by KTPS is a great development,” remarked Leena Buddhe, Founder of CFSD. “We are definitely on the right track, and are pleased that our report’s suggestions have been taken into account.”
â€œIn accordance with the report’s recommendations, more villages, particularly women and farmers, should be represented on this committee,â€ she added.
For the Koradi Thermal Power Station, however, no such committee has yet been constituted. “We now hope that the Koradi Thermal Power Station will follow suit and establish a similar surveillance committee to monitor environmental contamination caused by its plant and resolve problems at the Khasala ash bund,” Buddhe said.
In November 2021, a study published by Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, CFSD, and Asar highlighted pollution and its effects on the local community around Koradi and Khaperkheda power stations in detail. The research showed significant pollution across water bodies with dangerous metals such as mercury, arsenic, aluminum, lithium, and others contaminating the surface, groundwater, and drinking water, as well as widespread contamination of air, water, and soil owing to fly ash.
The study “Polluted Power: How Koradi And Khaperkheda Thermal Power Stations Are Impacting The Environment” has demanded that pollution discharge from power plants and ash ponds be halted immediately. In addition, the findings strongly recommended the formation of a local Environmental Surveillance Committee to address concerns of water pollution on a regular basis.
The creation of the committee, according to Shripad Dharmadhikary, Coordinator, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, is a very positive move. “It should be recalled that our recently released analysis highlighted the terrible pollution caused by the Khaparkheda and Koradi TPPs and advocated the creation of just such a committee. However, the committee will need to include officials from the Koradi TPP, as there is pollution from the Koradi TPP and its ash pond as well, and there are locations on the ground where contamination from Koradi and Khaperkheda cannot be separated.”
â€œThe members of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, at the very least as invitees, should be included in this committee. “We look forward to the committee’s successful working to provide immediate and long-term relief to the people of the area from the significant pollution problem,” Dharmadhikary added.