ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Energy and Environment

The article “An Alternative Energy Plan for the Konkan” by K J Joy et al (EPW, 9 May 2009) has made two important points that are often overlooked. I submit the overlooking is intentional and not because of lack of knowledge or they being complex issues.

The authors have recommended that “a regional EIA [Environmental Impact A ssessment] by an impartial agency to estimate the cumulative impact of all the proposed power projects” be made. Even if one assumes that Indian emission standards are tight and the EIA hearings are democratically organised, they are applied to each project separately, and not to the total impact of all existing and proposed industrial and power generating units in that area. A similar story is being enacted in Orissa with mega p ower, aluminium and steel projects, like the Kalinga Nagar cluster. In fact, any r egion’s emission load carrying capacity is likely to be quite limited beyond one major unit. One hopes R K Pachauri, non- governmental organisations and green bodies will join in a movement to force government to change the environmental clearance standards. For example, has anyone calculated the total amount of fly ash that 15,000 MW of coal- based power plants will generate in the Konkan strip? Or, the amount of water or land needed?

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