Farmers opposed to Kudgi plant want NTPC surety bond

Farmers opposed to Kudgi plant want NTPC surety bond

Local farmers opposing the Kudgi Super Thermal Power Project in Bijapur district want the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to execute a surety bond before the Supreme Court, undertaking that the plant would not cause any environmental and health hazards. 

Led by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene, they took out a protest rally to the deputy commissioner’s office here on Tuesday. The organisation’s district general secretary Aravind Kulkarni and district president Siddaramappa Ranjanagi submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner, D Randeep. The power plant should not cause any health hazards and damage to the flora and fauna in villages within 25 km from the project area, they demanded. 

Kulkarni claimed that the NTPC submitted inaccurate information to the government while obtaining permission for the plant, saying the area around the proposed power plant was barren, and hence the question of any impact on the flora and fauna would not arise at all. 

Besides, the NTPC contended that there are no historical places within a 25-km radius of the plant. Kulkarni said rules stipulated that there should not be any dam or major water source within a 25-km radius of the plant. 

“The truth is that the entire area around Kudgi is known for betel leaf and onion plantation, besides having many historical temples and the Almatti dam,” he said and charged the NTPC with “deceiving” the government and the Union ministry of environment and forests to get clearance for the plant. 

Farmers are not stupid. The plant would affect the yield of crops. The fly ash from the plant would create health hazards both for human beings and the livestock, he asserted. People exposed to such pollution will suffer from diseases like skin cancer, asthma and tuberculosis besides developing breathing problems, he added. 

Farmers will withdraw their agitation against construction of the plant only if the NTPC executes the surety bond. If the NTPC’s claim on environmental concerns is disproved, it should shut down or shift the plant, Kulkarni said. 

Later, the deputy commissioner summoned the NTPC’s assistant general manager A Satyabhama, seeking clarifications about the plant. Satyabhama spoke to the farmers and said the plant would be the first in the country to use the super critical technology which would be completely pollution free. She agreed to the demand for surety bond but said the NTPC’s technical team needed to be consulted.

 She appealed to farmers to allow the construction work to resume. She also promised to arrange for farmers to visit the NTPC’s plants at Simhadri in Andhra Pradesh and Ramagundam in Telangana to allay their apprehensions about thermal power plants. 

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