Citing a Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) document that contains a warning by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) that the proposed 660 MW Ennore Thermal Power Station (ETPS) would have an impact on the residents of TNHB’s under-construction slum resettlement houses for over 6,800 families, activists and North Chennai residents asked the government to scrap the project and cancel the public hearing for it scheduled on January 6.
Activists released a CMDA meeting note dated November 14, 2018, to reclassify TNHB’s 28.68 acres of land from hazardous industries use zone to primary residential zone, in which Tangedco and TNPCB had objected the reclassification citing the upcoming power projects in the vicinity.
The note said the TNPCB member-secretary had stated in a letter dated February 12, 2018, that the upcoming power projects in the western side of the land may have an impact on the proposed TNHB residential complex.
“The chairman cum managing director of Tangedco in a letter dated May 7, 2018, has informed that the reclassification of the TNHB land and largescale resettlement of displaced families will invite issues in obtaining environmental clearance for the proposed ETPS Expansion Thermal Power Project (1X660 MW). Considering this and the projected power demand for the State, Tangedco has requested to ensure that their activities are not affected while taking a decision on the reclassification proposal,” it said.
However, the CMDA reclassified the land and TNHB is constructing flats to accommodate families that were evicted as part of city beautification and waterways restoration projects.
Pointing out that Tangedco’s own data revealed that the existing thermal power plants themselves were not fully utilised last year, environmental activist Nityanand Jayaraman urged authorities to cancel the public hearing and scrap the power project.
The ETPS Expansion project has been facing various hurdles, including engineering-procurement-construction contract being terminated in 2018 after the firm that won the bid declared bankruptcy. After its environmental clearance expired in 2019, Tangedco was forced to get it afresh, for which the public hearing is scheduled on January 6 in Ernavur.