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Dahanu Thermal Power Station, Maharashtra, India


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) [1]. The plant is the largest power generating facility of Reliance Energy Limited; it consists of two 250 MW units, both commissioned in 1995.

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 [5]. The surrounding areas are famous for agriculture, particularly the ‘Chikoo’ cultivation [3]. 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 [5].

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 [3].

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 [3]

Basic Data

NameDahanu Thermal Power Station, Maharashtra, India
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsDahanu Thermal Power Station (DTPS) started its commercial operations in January 1996. As fuel, the plants use a mix of Indian washed coal and imported coal. The general blending ratio is 80: 20. The indigenous fuel is supplied from SECL (Korba) which is located about 1400 Kilometers from the plant site. Imported coal is received from various countries like Indonesia, South Africa [6]. The plant has a generation capacity of 500 MW and supply power to suburban Mumbai. The company claims that it supply power at the cheapest tariff of Rs 2.45 per unit compared to other power utilities [4]. The plant has got many awards for its distinctive features in terms of performance, technological innovation and sustainability. The plant is the first Power Company to be certified ISO 14001 for its environmental management system & ISO 9001for its quality management System [2].
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date1986
Company Names or State EnterprisesReliance Infrastructure Limited - Owner of the Plant
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Maharashtra

Maharashtra Pollution Control Board

Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India

Bombay High Court

Environmental justice organisations and other supportersDahanu Parisar Bachao Samiti

Dahanu Taluka Environmental Welfare Association (DTEWA)

Kashtakari Sanghatana

Communist Party of India (Marxists)

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)

Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC)

Dahanu Taluka Environmental Protection Authority (DTEPA)

Tamarind Tree

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesThere are about 22,000 hectares of farmland in Dahanu and the local peoples’ mostly tribal were affected. The farmers, mostly fruit cultivators, allege that the fly ash and sulphur dioxide emissions from the power plant are poisoning the environment and threatening the century-old horticulture in the region. The farmers demanded that the coal-based power plant to switch for a cleaner fuel such as natural gas [3]
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Dahanu taluka was notified as an eco-fragile area by a Central Government notification on June 20, 1991. Since the notification, industrial development in this area has been prohibited. However, the power plant was given clearance on June 13, 1990 [3]. The environmentalists filed a comprehensive writ petition in the Supreme Court in 1994. The SC appointed the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to investigate. Based on the report, the SC directed the setting up of a special authority to oversee the development of Dahanu Taluka [5]. With the lawsuit filed by the activists, in 1999, Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority (DTEPA), appointed by the Supreme Court, had recommended a flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) for the plant Dahanu Parisar Bachao Samiti also made representation to the concerned authorities time to time to shut down the plant and to switch to gas based rather than coal based operation to take care of the Sulphur dioxide emissions. Even with all these protest, the renewal of consent for the plant was granted in 2004 for five years without any public hearing [3]. In June 2005, the Bombay HC lowered the amount of the bank guarantee from Rs300 to Rs100 crore. A deadline of October 2007 was accepted by all as being the final time schedule for the installation of the Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) Plant [5].

However, Reliance Energy has denied the charges. They claimed that their emission levels was far below those mandated by the MPCB and have taken adequate measures so that emission can be controlled. They denied the allegation that productivity of fruits have dropped. They said that their own plantation has not been affected. The company said that they have called global for installation of tenders are being invited for the FGD [3]

Sources and Materials


The Air (Prevention And Control Of Pollution) Act, 1981

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974


[1] Dahanu Power Station

[2] Dahanu TPS is Reliance Energy Ltd

[3] Dahanu: pollution, power and the polls

[4] Rel Infra's Dahanu Thermal Power Station bags award

[5] People power takes on thermal power

[6] Dahanu Thermal power station

How Dahanu epitomises the environment vs development debate

People vs environmentalists

Making environmental mandates meaningful

Trapped into farming

The tribal's right



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ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update03/05/2014



Dahanu Thermal power station

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