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Bhavanapadu and Kakarapalli ECEPL Coal Fired Power Plant, AP, India


Description:

Five thermal power projects are proposed to be set up in Srikakulam district. Among the five projects, the proposal of three are in preliminary stage, while the construction of Nagarjuna Construction Company (Sompeta) and East Coast Energy project with 2640 MW capacity each had started [1]. East Coast Energy Private Ltd’s thermal power plant proposed at Kakarapalli in Srikakulam district is to be developed in two phases with a total generation capacity of 2640 MW. Each phase is planned with capacity of 1320 MW having two units of 660 MW. It should have started power generation by March 2015 [2]. The project has received approval for clean development mechanism (CDM) from the National CDM Authority of the Ministry of Environment and Forests; the company affirms they are the first independent power producer in South India to do so.

The thermal power sector in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere has been encountering huge problems related to fuel supply, land acquisition, financing, policy hurdles at the State and Central levels and environmental clearance.

There are about 63 power plants planned to come up in coastal Andhra. This has triggered intense protests and many questions [7]. Srikakulam cannot sustain or support five thermal power plants of the proposed magnitude in a radius of less than 200 km. There are certain guidelines for location of the thermal projects. However, defying all norms industrialists prefer to locate them along the coast. This is because of import of coal from countries like Indonesia will be cheaper in this route. This is quality coal and the ash content ranges from 10 to 12 per cent as compared to indigenous coal’s 30 per cent. However guidelines prohibit location of plants near breeding, nesting and fish nurseries because it will disturb the breeding and nesting of marine and freshwater fishes [1].

The Business Line of The Hindu says: "Another issue plaguing the sector but that was not being taken into account by the planners was the decommissioning of projects that have outlived their shelf life of 25-30 years. Though these projects continue to generate power even today, the issue is at what cost?"[2]. This is in fact one of the main arguments in favor of new "critical technology" thermal power plants; their alleged capacity of cutting CO2 emissions is the main reason for them to benefit from the CDMs.

But environmental issues are quite severe. The Naupada swamps in this part of the state have been acknowledged as a fragile wetland area. The company, however, has been granted the necessary environmental clearances by the government. Environmentalists allege that the permissions have been bought [4].

According to the Argumentative Indian, one of the members of the board of directors of the promoting companies is Mr. A. Balraj, who is a retired IAS officer and the chairman of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) which recommended the environmental clearance for the thermal power plant in Kakarapalli [8].

The project faced a lot of opposition from the local people and environmental activists. They fear that environmental pollution would leave the area uninhabitable [2]. The proposed project faced strong opposition from the people, mostly fishermen, living along the coast. They expressed serious concern over the health hazards. They also afraid that the effluents from project will affect the fish catch in the sea and ultimately their livelihood [1].

The Srikakulam district administration called two meetings of all stakeholders to get their views. People expressed their strong opposition from the fishermen community, as also some NGOs and environmental activists [1]. The agitation against the project had led to delays in its execution [2].

In February 2011, work has been suspended after a police firing, as locals opposed the construction of the plant in Santabommali mandal. However, the company got the nod from the Union government in April 2 to recommence work. At least two people were killed and several injured [3]. Even after that, the police reportedly opened fire on the protesting mobs [4].

UPDATE IN 2017 (with references).

The deceased were from Vaddithadra village, dominated by the fisherman community. The protestors had been on strike for 195 days refusing to let work resume on the plant. They insisted that the power plant would destroy all the ponds and swamp water bodies in the area thereby stripping the locals of their livelihood [1]. After construction work being suspended for more than 2 years following the police violence, the company resumed work in October 2013. From October 2013 to March 2015, they constructed compound wall and chimneys. However, in April 2015 work stopped again due to financial crunch. This financial constraint was despite being provided Rs. 3,000 crore finance by Power Finance Corporation and 18 other institutions. [3]

After the state of Telangana was set up in 2014, the new state government of Andhra Pradesh changed its policy on thermal power plants. In April 2017, the state energy minister, Kimida Kala Venkata Rao stated that Thermal Power Plants (TPP) are not viable in the state now as it has sufficient power due to an increase in generation by 25 percent. Speaking to The Hans India, the minister informed that keeping this augmented generation in view, the government has put on hold all the proposed TPPs. [4] About the Kakarapalli plant, he said, “At present, the state government has no agreement with the East Coast Energy Private Limited. [3]. In June 2015 East Coast Energy informed the MoEF that the company was still seeking additional land for the project. [2].  In August 2017 it was reported that the proposal for setting up of thermal power plant had fizzled out due to financial crunch and changed government policy, when the district collector Kalva Dhanunjaya Reddy announced that, ‘East Coast Energy Private Limited has stopped works of Kakarapalli power plant’. [3] 

Similar to the case of Sompeta (in AP), this is a victory for saving this ecologically sensitive and historically significant wetland. It is ecologically sensitive as there are at least 40 middle-sized ponds and a vast area used as salt farms, which is a source of survival for about 30,000 people depend on it for survival, and the historical significance of this land stems from the fact that this was the epicentre of the salt satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi for the southern and eastern provinces. [5].

 1.      http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/andhr(a-villagers-protest-against-thermal-power-plant-2-killed/1/131200.html.

2. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Bhavanapadu_Thermal_Power_Project

3.    http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-08-15/Kakarapalli-power-plant-fizzles-

out/319172

4.    http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-04-12/Thermal-power-stations-not-viable-now-in-AP--Kimida-Kala-Venkata-Rao/292775

5.     http://www.downtoearth.org.in/coverage/the-great-wetland-robbery-in-kakarapalli-33246

 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Bhavanapadu and Kakarapalli ECEPL Coal Fired Power Plant, AP, India
Country:India
State or province:Andhra Pradesh
(municipality or city/town)Village - Kakarapalli; Mandal - Santhabommali; District- Srikakulam
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Thermal power plants
REDD/CDM
Specific commodities:Land
Coal
Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The current project cost was Rs 6,571 crore, with a debt/equity ratio of 3:1. The plant is to be developed in two phases. The estimated total generation capacity of the project is 2640 MW. Each phase is planned with capacity of 1320 MW having two units of 660 MW. Site location, planning and all statutory approvals have been obtained [5]. The company had finalized a long-term power supply agreement with the AP Government for 300 MW at Rs 2.97 per unit during the first full year of operations and over the next 25 years in accordance with the PPA [2].

As reported in [9], March 2011, "at least two people were killed and several injured when police fired on a mob protesting a controversial thermal power plant at Kakarapalli area in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district ... While Nagarjuna is setting up a 2,640 megawatt coal-based power plant in Sompeta Mandal, East Coast Energy is setting up a similar plant in Kakarapalli."

Level of Investment:1,095,680,776 (Rs 6,571 crore)
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:East Coast Energy Private Limited (ECEPL) from India - Executor
Relevant government actors:Andhra Pradesh Government, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Paryavarana Parirakshana Samithi (PPS).

Telegu Desham Party (TDP)

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
translation missing: en.m.mobilizing_groups.fisher_people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Strikes

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Air pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Increase in violence and crime

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of alternatives:Activists demanded the cancellation of the project. They continue the agitations till the government cancel the environmental clearance.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The company was planning to accelerate the execution and want to commence generation by March 2015. However, in August 2017 it was announced that East Coast Energy Private Limited has stopped works of Kakarapalli power plant. Like in Sompeta (also in coastal AP), a success for environmental justice.

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Srikakulam cannot sustain five thermal power plants: expert
http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/10/stories/2010021057450500.htm

[2] East Coast Energy to set up 1,320 MW plant in Srikakulam
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/east-coast-energy-to-set-up-1320-mw-plant-in-srikakulam/article4438718.ece

[3] Andhra villagers protest against thermal power plant, 2 killed
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/andhra-villagers-protest-against-thermal-power-plant-2-killed/1/131200.html

[5] East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd
http://www.eastcoastenergy.in/

[6] Bandh against thermal power plants in Srikakulam district
http://www.kseboa.org/news/bandh-against-thermal-power-plants-in-srikakulam-district-10052204.html

[7] Yes, let there be light. But no pain
http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ne070511Coverstory3.asp

[8] The Argumentative Indian
http://theargumentativeindian.blogspot.com.es/2011/03/how-crony-capitalism-lead-to.html

[4] 2 Killed in protests in Andhra's Srikakulam
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/2-killed-in-protests-in-andhra-s-srikakulam-88424

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protests restart against Thermal Power Plant in Srikakulam (In Telegu)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQMkvVLsrn4

Telugu News - Excited Climate At Thermal Power Plant In Srikakulam (TV5) (In Telegu)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lAmBZnuV5o

[9] Andhra villagers protest against thermal power plant, 2 killed. At least people were killed and several injured when police fired on a mob protesting a controversial thermal power plant at Kakarapalli area in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district on Monday. Mridula Chanduri. Hyderabad, March 1, 2011
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/andhra-villagers-protest-against-thermal-power-plant-2-killed/1/131200.html

Other documents

Coal Fired Power Plants proposed for Andhra Pradesh
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Andhra_Pradesh_CFPP_art.jpg

https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Kakarapalli_site_with_salt_pan_DTE.jpg

https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Kakarapalli_site.jpg

Other comments:See references for period 2011 to 2017 in section Sources of Conflict (UPDATE).

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra and Brototi Roy
Last update05/01/2018

Images

 

Coal Fired Power Plants proposed for Andhra Pradesh

 

 

 

Villagers protesting against an under construction thermal power plant in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/andhra-villagers-protest-against-thermal-power-plant-2-killed/1/131200.html

Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/andhra-villagers-protest-against-thermal-power-plant-2-killed/1/131200.html