Thirty-five organisations and individuals from the Vidarbha region have come together to oppose the expansion of the Koradi Thermal Power Station (KTPS) situated close to the city, alleging the plant could exacerbate the worsening air pollution situation.
The protesters addressed a press conference on Thursday to voice their opposition to two new units of 660 MW each to come up at KTPS that currently produces 2,400 MW power. They said pollution caused by KTPS will sound the death-knell for the city.
“This is for the first time that so many organisations and individuals have come together to oppose the new units,” said Sudhir Paliwal, convenor of Vidarbha Environmental Action Group (VEAG). “There is no demand for power in the state and already many thermal power plants are shutting down. Moreover, Vidarbha is facing acute water shortage. In such a situation, diverting water for power generation will also add to Vidarbha farmers’ and citizens’ woes,” he added.
The activists said that Nagpur had been rated as one of the most polluted cities in India and the new coal-fired power units will further choke the city’s remaining clean air with pollutants.
They also pointed out that Vidarbha produces 16,816 MW thermal power but consumes only 1,700 MW. “Rest all goes to western Maharashtra. Pune division consumes more power than entire Vidarbha but there is no power plant in Pune,” they argued.
They alleged that Nagpur is becoming ‘cancer capital’ due to the rising pollution levels for which thermal power units are mainly responsible. “Hence, no new units must be allowed to come up in the city,” they said.
Among the organisations to protest the new units were Vidarbha Connect, Jan Manch and Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti.
The organisers have decided to hold a silent march and other protests in the near future.
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