Monday, February 22, 2010

Vidarbha Environmental Action Group (VEAG) to oppose 50 power plants vidarbha -TOI Reports

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Group formed to oppose power plants

NAGPUR: Some prominent Nagpurians have formed a group to oppose a large number of power plants coming up in the region as they believe that a power surplus region does not need so many plants.

These power plants will use water meant for irrigation, thousands of acres of fertile land will be acquired for them and for transmission towers and they will increase pollution levels in the region beyond tolerable levels. The first meeting of Vidarbha Environmental Action Group (VEAG) was held in Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) Hall in Civil Lines. People from various cross sections of society including builders, engineers, retired MSEB officers, social activists and environmentalists participated in the meet.

Power expert Sudhir Paliwal told the gathering that a large number of power plants was in the pipeline in Vidarbha and an additional capacity of 35,000 MW was planned. If all the projects took off then Vidarbha would become a wasteland. "This is being done as the government and private companies think Vidarbha is a soft target. On the other hand no power plant is being planned in western Maharashtra."

He said that VEAG planned to file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the power plants and sought cooperation of all Vidarbhaites. Environmentalist Mohan Kothekar urged VEAG to print booklets in Hindi and Marathi languages so that the information could reach the grassroots.

Power consultant R B Goenka said, "Government should go in for distributed generation by setting up smaller power plants near big cities and industrial areas. This would reduce transmission losses and keep pollution under control. Small power plants needed 10% water per MW as compared to their bigger counterparts as they used air cooled generation."

Participants including L G Kriplani and Vijay Dhanwatay expressed their views and it was decided that another meeting would be held soon to discuss the next step.

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