The public hearing for the 660 MW Ennore Thermal Power Station Expansion project will be held on Thursday as planned even as 40 city-based groups, including North Chennai residents, environmental groups, fishermen and youth groups, appealed to the Chief Minister seeking its postponement until COVID cases come down.
According to Tangedco and TNPCB sources, there would not be any more postponement of the public hearing and it would be held at SSSM ETPS Matriculation School, ETPS Camp 1, Ernavur.
“The public hearing would be held following the government guidelines on COVID. All the people coming to attend the hearing would be given the opportunity to express their view even while strictly following the safety protocol,” sources said. The hearing was originally proposed to be held on January 6 but it was postponed in the view of the third wave.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the activists and residents said that the number of COVID cases is rising steeply in the city. “From low of 605 cases on December 27, cases had risen to 2,481 on January 6—the date on which the advertisement postponing the public hearing was put out. As of January 11, the number of cases is 2.5 times more. It is highly unlikely that the wave will subside by January 13. In any case, it is inadvisable for the government to organise any large congregations that will set a bad example and potentially aggravate the situation,” it said.
Pointing to the higher caseload and a lower rate of vaccination, they appealed to the chief minister to direct the Chennai district administration to indefinitely postpone the public hearing scheduled for January 13 and schedule it after normally is restored in the city.