Chamalapura power station

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Chalmapura power station was a 1,000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station proposed by Karnataka Power Corporation. The power station was proposed for Karnataka, India, but cancelled in 2008.

Location

The map below shows the location of Chamalapura in Mysore district, Karnataka, India but not the exact location of the project.

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Background

The power station was proposed to be built at Chamalapura in Mysore district, Karnataka, India. Following an opposition campaign by local residents and supporters, the project was cancelled in late 2008.[1]

In 2007, the government of Karnataka announced a proposal to construct the plant on 2,000 acres of land in Chamalapura, a village located 15 km from Mysore. The proposal attracted immediate opposition, with displacement of around 20,000 people the central issue. The campaign was described by S G Vombatkere as follows:[1]

The agitations cut across socio-economic barriers and the urban-rural divide. Also, agitations were conducted independently by several civil society organizations at different levels, each according to its individual style and capability. There were 24x7 vigils at and around the proposed project site with village folk including women offering physical resistance to visitors in favour of the project, and strett demonstrations and rasta roko in Mysore where peaceful protesters were beaten by police, arrested and charged under criminal law. There were lectures and seminars conducted in Mysore by intellectuals and activists, documentary films made by creative artists, students' protests, meetings, organized between village volk and city folk making common cause and explaining the environmental ill-effects of a mega power plant, and meetings to raise public awareness about the social and environmental ill-effects of the project. There were petitions to all levels of government, and a formal petition was made on October 19, 2007, to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), cogently arguing that the project was quite unnecessary and undesirable. People lobbied with elected representatives, and delegations went to Bangalore to argue with government officials and political figures. A very significant event was a huge rally of around 5,000 people at the Town Hall in Mysore city centre on September 12, 2007, with leaders of all political parties and groupings excepting of course the ruling party at that time, and many intellectuals. Even some religious leaders lent support to the agitation. The local media covered all aspects of the agitations. An apolitical alliance of agitating organizations and individuals was formed and named as Chamalapura Ushnavidyut Sthavara Virodhi Horata Samithi (CUSVHS).
GoK for its part made the statement that the CFTPP was for development of the area by providing electric power, and that the proposed site was dry land useless for agriculture. Not to be taken in, protestors noted that the generated power would be sent to Bangalore while all the social and environmental ill-effects would be left to the villages around Chamalapura, KRS reservoir, Mysore and small towns around, all within a 20-km productive well- and tank-based traditional agriculture. However, the petition argued before KERC starting January 2008, caused the Chairman and a Member to visit the site on March 20, 2008, to meet the affected people. This resulted in KERC issuing an advisory to GoK to re-consider its decision to construct the CFTPP at Chamalapura. Continued public pressure and agitations following this advisory caused the Karnataka Power Minister to announce in late 2008 that the power plant would not be constructed against the wishes of the people. While there has been no official statement withdrawing the project proposal, it is reliably understood that the Chamalapura site has been dropped. This victory of the people was confirmed when CUSVHS decided to erect a granite stone tablet (Vijayagallu) on July 24, 2010, next to a Malleshwara temple on a hill very near to Chamalapura. The 150 plus people who gathered for the simple ceremony under a cloudy sky threatening to rain, were village folk and city folk, women, old people and students, organic farmers, intellectuals and activists, and representatives of farmers’ and Dalit organizations. A students group sang songs about nature and the environment, and the stone tablet was inaugurated by a four-year-old girl placing a simple garland on the stone, symbolism for Earth belonging to the coming generation. The lettering on the tablet speaks of nature’s bounty, its life forms, forest wealth, wildlife and the environment in the same breath as it mentions people. This is especially significant in antipeople projects. Here is a translation of the words on the Victory Stone:
“The Chamalapura Ushnavidyut Sthavara Virodhi Horata Samithi (Forum for Opposing the Chamalapura Thermal Power Plant) has placed this commemorative stone as a symbol of people’s victory against the Karnataka Government’s proposed [project that would have destroyed] nature’s life forms, forest wealth, wildlife, environment and people’s lives and livelihoods. All the people who participated in the movement against the Chamalapura Thermal Power Plant hereby warn any government that may come in the future, not to undertake such destructive, anti-people projects. SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT; PROTECT NATURE’S ABUNDANCE.”

Citizen opposition

It was reported that the region where the Chamalapura power station is to be built is "verdant agricultural lands ... sandwiched between the Kabini and Cauvery rivers, and has a wide network of lakes ... The proposed power plant is expected to result in land acquisition of 3000 acres (including 600 odd acres of forest lands) and displace at least 13,000 people, in Chamalapura & its neighboring villages." As a result, "Protestors had communicated to the Government that under no circumstances they will allow the plant to come up as, according to them, it is detrimental to their lives and livelihood. They demanded an explanation from the Government on the rationale behind branding fertile land as barren land and cautioned that there would be a repetition of what happened at Nandigram in West Bengal, if the State used force in the matter."[2]

Project Details

Sponsor: Karnataka Power Corporation
Location: Chamalapura village, HD Kote taluk, Mysore district, Karnataka
Coordinates: 12.19, 76.45 (approximate)
Status: Cancelled
Nameplate capacity: 1,000MW
Type:
Projected in service:
Coal Type:
Coal Source:
Estimated annual CO2:
Source of financing:

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 S G Vombatkere, "People's Victory Against a Mega Thermal Power Plant," The Movement of India, September 2010
  2. "Chamalapura Thermal Power Plant, Karnataka, India" Environmental Atlas Justice, accessed April 21, 2014.

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External resources

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