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Power project: environmentalists, rights activists to form panel

Special Correspondent
The Hindu
September 25, 2007

Panel consisting of retired vice-chancellors and government officials will ascertain people's views

CUDDALORE: Environmental and rights activists have decided to form an expert committee to go into the issues relating to the proposed 1320-MW private power project to be set up in the Thiagavalli-Kudikadu coastal region here.

At least 10 organisations met here on Saturday to chart out the strategy to protect the environment, marine life, agriculture and livelihood of the local people.

The meeting resolved to constitute a five-member panel consisting of retired Vice-Chancellors and government officials to ascertain the views of the people on the project promoted by the Cuddalore Power Company.

It also decided to call upon the District Collector to convene a meeting to clarify the doubts of the people and that of the elected representatives of local bodies.

The public hearing held recently was a non-starter as the audience turned restive, resulting in its cancellation.

The speakers gave an assurance that their organisations would back the people in safeguarding their rights. The proposed plant was likely to generate 2,500 tonnes of fly ash a day and discharge a huge quantum of hot water into the sea that would cause irreparable damage, both on the shore and off shore.

Ban sought

The concentration of chemical units had worsened the pollution level in Cuddalore and any further deterioration would make the place uninhabitable. Hence, they sought a ban on any new pollution causing ventures and close monitoring of the existing units.

They noted that because of the spirited fight put up by the people of Periapattu, Silambimangalam and Andarmullipallam in 1997 the government retracted from the proposal to set up tannery units.

Pollution

The pollution problem would not get confined to the 12 hamlets but would severely affect the export potential of prawns, fish and crabs, besides cultivation, they said. Henry Tiphagne, Director, People's Watch, called upon the villagers to put up a show of unity.

M. Nizamudeen, general secretary of the Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, said the concerns of the local people should be adequately addressed before clearing the project.

Representatives from Pasumai Thayagam, Sasi Service Organisation, Coastal Area Network, Movement for People's Rights, Corporate Accountability Desk, Other Media and LEED, participated.

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