KSPCB may act against power plant in Yelahanka

KSPCB may act against power plant in Yelahanka

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has found that the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited’s (KPCL) Yelahanka diesel power generation (DG) plant continues to pollute environment to such an extent that it is time to shut down its operations.

The two-decade old DG plant, which mainly caters to power requirements of the Wheel and Axle plant of the Railways, has totally six units. Of these, now only one is functioning. The KSPCB has received several complaints from the residents of Yelahanka that the power plant is causing too much air and water pollution.

The KSPCB officials inspected the DG plant on May 4 this year and submitted a report to the KSPCB chairman explaining how the environment norms are violated.

During the inspection, it was observed that the smoke emissions from the chimney attached to the 6th DG set was polluting the atmosphere. Same was the case with the DG set 2 which was not in operation during the inspection. The KPCL is using low sulphur heavy stock (LSHS) instead of good quality of fuel, stating that they were not getting quality fuel from refineries due to  transportaion problems.

In addition, the DG sets are old and they can’t use refined fuel. The sets are imported and require immediate repair and maintenance, the officials of the KPCL informed the inspection team.

The KPCL has generated around 50 tonnes of sludge in the last six years. Huge oil spillage was noticed during the inspection. There are all chances that during the rainy season, waste may get mixed with rain water and there by contaminate land and water bodies in the area.

Further, oil spillage and water-mixed oil was noticed in the storm water drain, leading to eucalyptus plantation area on the premises. The entire area needs complete revamp and housekeeping in this area is far from satisfactory, the inspection team has observed.

Despite the KSPCB’s earlier notices, there is no improvement in operation and maintenance of effluent treatment plant (ETP). Moreover, the ETP was not in working condition and effluents are not treated scientifically, the report observed.

The environment officer, who has submitted the inspection report to the KSPCB, has observed that in view of the persisting complaints from the people of Yelahanka, the KSPCB may initiate action as per the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, at the earliest.

Sources in the KPCL argued that once the gas is used, the pollution levels will reduce. But that would take time.

 There is no concrete plan as to when the plant would switch over to the gas mode, sources said. 

When the plant was established decades ago, there were not many houses in its vicinity and there were no complaints of pollution.

But now, too many buildings have come up and, naturally, there are many complaints too, sources said.

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