Yelahanka residents oppose KPCL's gas-based power plant

The Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd’s (KPCL) upcoming gas-based power plant at Yelahanka, north Bengaluru, has got local people worried. They have filed a petition on seeking the National Green Tribunal’s intervention to relocate the plant that will start generating power using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by 2018.

The plant is coming up close to a residential area, and residents fear long-term environmental dangers or degradation. “Even as the furor and public ire over gross environmental negligence and oversight by the Karnataka state government and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike over the recent flooding in Bangalore city and damage to lake ecosystem and forest cover continue, the KPCL has started construction on an LNG-based thermal power plant in the midst of a residential and lake conservation area in Yelahanka. This ‘new’ 370 megawatt (MW) power project is being planned on the same KPCL site where a highly-polluting diesel power plant was shut down a few years back, on account of its toxic impact on surrounding human settlements (sic),” the petition reads.

More than three lakh people live in the neighbourhood and they could contract various diseases, said Simmi Kumar, a local resident.

“In less than 300 metres are apartment complexes. In about 500 metres are two lake conservation areas and a declared bird sanctuary — Puttenahalli and Yelahanka lakes. These (things) should have been taken into consideration before planning the plant,” she said.

Residents want the government to redefine the industrial zone limits where the project is coming up. “The zoning is archaic and needs urgent review. The zoning perhaps made sense some 25 years ago but does not take into account the current-day presence of a fully grown and expanding neighbourhood around it. There are now several schools, colleges (20+), hospitals (5+) and community spaces around the project site which is an island within a larger residential community (sic),” states the petition floated by residents who have formed the ‘Save Yelahanka’ group.

They have urged NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar to reassess all clearances granted to the project and to relocate it to a “more appropriate site at least 25 km away”.

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