Bahuguna adds fire to Maha anti-power project lobby

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 8 2009, 04:21am hrs
All those opposing various power projects in coastal Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra are set to receive a major boost as the key figure in anti-Tehri Dam movement Sunderlal Bahuguna is in Ratnagiri on a three-day visit to share his experience and attend a conference on environment.

Apart from 15,000-mw Nuclear Power Corporation project, other projects include 1,600-mw imported coal-based project initiated by MahaGenco, expansion of Jindals 1,200-mw project by 3,200mw, 4,000-mw gas and coal-based project by Reliance Power, 1,600-mw imported coal-based project by Tata Power, GMRs 1,980-mw project and Phinolexs 1,043-mw power project. Also, the anti-power project lobby is against the 4,000-mw ultra mega power project in Sindhudurg.

The lobby has already stepped up its agitation against the upcoming projects ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Bahugunas visit is also crucial as the lobby wants to go whole hog to mobilise public opinion against these projects.

It is to be noted that just two days ago the Nuclear Power Corporation signed MoU with Areva to supply high-powered nuclear reactors for the upcoming 1,5000-mw nuclear project at Jaitapur. An activist associated with the anti-power projects movement told FE, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, the leaders in mango production, especially Alphonso variety, have an annual turn over of Rs 2,220-2,400 crore. The locals have invested Rs 150 crore in mango cultivation and there are over 50 small and medium processing units in operation. Besides cashewnut cultivation, processing is also done on a large scale. With the proposed power projects, the horticulture will be adversely affected and it will thereby hamper the local economy and impact employment.

Bahuguna advised the activists to be united and fight for the conservation of nature and environment. He opined that ecology is permanent economy and made a strong pitch for change in the governments existing policies. However, the state government sources said chief minister Ashok Chavan has already made it clear that the government would pursue the implementation of these projects to meet the ever-increasing power demand. Also, that the government would make all efforts to avoid any damage to the environment by strict implementation of anti-pollution laws.