Coal projects to severely affect environment in Konkan: NGO

Last Updated: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 14:26

Mumbai: Raising concerns over a string of
coal-fired power projects along Konkan coast in Maharashtra,
an NGO has claimed that these developments will hamper the
bio-diversity of western ghats which is also home to several
endangered species.

There are at least 15 proposed coal-fired power projects
equalling 25 GW of power which are set to be built on a narrow
strip of coastal land 50 to 90 km wide and 200 km long. This
represents a 200 per cent increase in coal-fired power for the
entire state of Maharashtra.

The sheer scale of present development needs to be looked
in totality, said the recently released preliminary report of
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on diversity of coastal
marine ecosystem of Maharashtra Part 1: Rocky Shores at
Ratnagiri and Rajapur.

"Thus cost and benefits of all the proposed projects
need to take into account not just the 10 sq km impact of a
particular project, but cumulative impacts of all projects
together," the report said.

These developments will ravage one of Maharashtra`s most
serene coastal areas and Western Ghat which are home several
globally endangered species as well as world famous Alphonso
mango, the report pointed out.

Coastal Konkan is also one of the richest fishing grounds
along the Maharashtra coast, it said, adding that the power
plants require their own captive ports for the transport of
raw material thus a number of minor ports proposed to come up
in this area.

Coastal tourism is catching up very fast in the coastal
Konkan. A number of coastal resorts have come up in this
region of which one or two resorts are in total violation of
CRZ, the report said.

In the light of these developments, BNHS has decided to
undertake comprehensive impact assessment of these projects.

The report comes in the wake of protests by the villagers
and environmental activists at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district
against the proposed 9900 MW nuclear power plant to be built
in collaboration with France-based company Areva.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 14:26
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