Dahanu Thermal Power Station (DTPS) is a 500 megawatt (MW) coal power plant located in Maharashtra, India. The power plant is owned by it is operated by Reliance Infrastructure Limited, which until 2008 was known as Reliance Energy and before that as Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) . The plant is the largest power generating facility of Reliance Energy Limited; it consists of two 250 MW units, both commissioned in 1995.See more...
The first proposals to set up a coal fired thermal power plant in Dahanu date back to 1986; they have always met with fierce opposition from local people and orchard owners. Sensing the possible adverse effects on the region, residents and farmers got together to campaign against the setting up of the plant in Dahanu.
Several state and central government committees were appointed to find out the viability of Dahanu as a potential site for a fossil fuel-based plant. All these committees gave a negative report on Dahanu as a proposed site for the power plant. The committee observed that the possible plant will affect the livelihood of the local people who are predominantly farmers and tribal people . The surrounding areas are famous for agriculture, particularly the ‘Chikoo’ cultivation . In spite of the findings of its own committees, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) permitted the company, then owned by the Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) Company Pvt Ltd, to set up a 500 MW thermal power plant. However, the clearance was permitted in the condition that the plant will minimize the pollution level caused by the plant. The Dahanu Taluka Environmental Welfare Association (DTEWA) appealed to the Bombay High Court against the permission granted to set up the plant. But they lost the case in the Bombay High Court. The high court observed that the plant was a necessity for the energy to power Mumbai city. The BSES, however, didn't follow the conditions and set up the plant on 851.23 hectares of wetlands between the Dandi and Savta creek in 1991. After protests by environmentalists, headed by the DTEWA, the environment ministry sent its scientific advisor to look into the matter .
After the plant started its full-fledged operation, farmers of the neighboring areas of DTPS claimed that the agricultural productivity of their firm land had significantly dropped. Local farmers claimed that the production had gone down up to as much as 50 per cent. This was confirmed by an environment consultant firm ‘Maya Mahajan’ that between February and March, 2004 revealed a 30-70 per cent decline in the ‘Chikoo’ fruit production. During that period locals had also seen dense fog and black dewdrops on the leaves near the plant .
The organization Dahanu Parisar Bachao Samiti formed by the local farmers and residents to protest against the pollution caused by the DTPS. The organization demanded that plant should switch to gas or provide the installation of a flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) plant to take care of the sulphur dioxide emissions. They also demanded the plant to stop its operation until the installation was done in order to check the pollution. It has become a political issue during the 2004 election. On March 19, 2004, Dahanu Parisar Bachao Samiti made a representation to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) with 1,400 signatures in support of their demands