Levy environmental cess on Kaiga: MoEF to state

Levy environmental cess on Kaiga: MoEF to state

Kaiga Atomic Power Plant

The expansion project of the Kaiga Atomic Power Plant in Uttara Kannada for its fifth and sixth unit seems to have come at a cost for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) as the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has laid down stringent conditions besides levying an annual environmental cess on the NPCIL for conservation and management of wildlife.

 The NPCIL had proposed to set up pressurised heavy-water reactor-based nuclear power plant with a capacity of 1,400 Mw, including two units of 700 Mw each. As the expansion project site is located just 1.30 km from the boundary of the Kali Tiger Reserve, the same was recommended to the NBWL for consideration. Following recommendations by the state, the NBWL approved the project, subject to various conditions, in its 55th meeting held last month.

The apex wildlife body has directed the NPCIL to ensure that the temperature of the water released into the reservoir should be same as water temperature above the release site. The power plant must also develop an appropriate holding facility for cooling and must guarantee that no radioactive emissions occur. According to the guidelines laid down by NBWL, a copy of which is with DH, "Radioactive wastes shall be properly treated and disposed of in accordance with the guidelines of AERB. No material for construction shall be collected from adjacent forest lands, no labourers camp be set up in 2 km of forest land and no night-time transportation of construction materials from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am."

Judicious use of funds

Further, the environmental impact assessment report of the project had revealed a budgetary estimate of Rs 50 lakh by the Kaiga plant for wildlife conservation management. Based on the allocation, Wildlife activist Giridhar Kulkarni had written to the MoEF&CC suggesting better utilisation of the funds for conservation activities. Taking note of the issue, the NBWL has directed the Karnataka Forest Department to levy NPCIL an annual environmental cess for the conservation of wildlife. "The money shall be deposited to Kali Tiger Reserve Foundation and must be utilised for village resettlement from Kali Tiger Reserve, wildlife habitat management and mitigation of conflict within the reserve," the NBWL said.

Reacting on the guidelines, Giridhar said, "I am thankful to the committee for considering my suggestions for utilisation of funds. This will definitely boost the habitat consolidation activities in the reserve which has a large number of human settlement and often faced with funds shortage. This proves the fact that wildlife conservation and development can go hand in hand provided we utilise the opportunities in the right direction."

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)