Welspun Energy Mirzapur power station

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

The Welspun Energy Mirzapur power station is a 1,320-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station proposed by Welspun Energy for Uttar Pradesh, India.

Location

The map below shows Mirzapur district, the approximate location where the plant would be built.

Loading map...

Background

Welspun Energy received a terms of reference toward an environmental permit for the proposed 1,320 MW coal-fired power station in 2011.[1] The company completed an environmental impact assessment in 2011,[2] and a public hearing was held in 2012.[3][4]

The project received environmental clearance in August 2014.[5]

The plant is not included in a March 2016 India government list of coal plants under construction.[6]

With no activity since August 2014, project plans appear to be deferred or abandoned.

Welspun appears to exit coal power business

In October 2015, Adani Group signed an initial agreement to buy the Katni power station and Welspun Energy Mirzapur power station in Uttar Pradesh.[7] However, there were no subsequent reports that the deal had actually been finalized.

In June 2016, Tata Power Company purchased the renewable energy portfolio of Welspun Energy Pvt Ltd for an estimate Rs 10,000 crore (US$1.4 billion). As of December 2016, none of the annual reports of any companies affiliated with Welspun Group make any mention of involvement in coal plants. It appears that in the wake of its apparently unsuccessful attempt to sell its coal power projects in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, and its transition into a builder of renewable power, followed by its sale of its renewable portfolio to Tata, the company has abandoned further plans to develop new coal power in India, including Mirzapur power station. [8]

June 2017: Government cancels PPA

In June 2017 the government of Uttar Pradesh cancelled the power purchase agreement (PPA) for the project, citing the company's failure of procure a fuel supply even after three deadline extensions.[9]

Vindhya Bachao resource page

The group Vindhya Bachao has developed a website with extensive information resources on the project, including site visit reports, minutes of MoEF meetings discussing the project, accounts of protests, and documents submitted by Welspun Energy. The website is here.

Opposition

In 2013 it was reported by Down to Earth that the plan was "mired in controversy following allegations that the company concealed information about the presence of forestland and endangered wildlife at the project site. The farmers in the region have also been protesting against the project, alleging the company bought land for the project by cheating them." According to the report:[10]

The environment clearance of the project had earlier been deferred by EAC in March this year on the grounds that the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the project prepared by the project proponent did not contain sufficient information. Vindhya Bachao Movement, a coalition of local environmentalists and non-profits, has sent several representations to MoEF about the discrepancies in the EIA report.
A site-visit report prepared by the non-profit in September this year revealed that the project site is surrounded by the forestland from all sides and one cannot reach the site without passing through the forest. The current access road to the project site is a forest road and transfer of coal by rail or even construction of road cannot happen without clearing forests, the report states. "The proposed pipeline for pumping water from the river Ganga falls well within the forestland even though it is claimed to be a motorway," it adds.
The forest department's data accessed by the non-profit Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation (VENHF) shows presence of critically endangered wildlife such as sloth bear, Bengal monitor lizard and peafowl in and around the project site. "The compensation paid by the forest department for the damages caused by the sloth bear have been maximum from around the project site. But the impact of project on the forest and wildlife has not been mentioned at all in the EIA report. The EIA report says the project site is a barren land but in reality it is either agriculture land or is full of grass and trees and qualify as forest irrespective of its ownership. The bamboo plantation mentioned in the EIA report is also forestland,” said Debaditya Sinha of VENHF. The report has put several photographs as evidence to support its claims.
The report also alleges that land has been bought forcibly at a meagre price by creating an atmosphere of fear among farmers with the help of local property dealers. Recently, application forms for employment in the power plant have been distributed to the local people. The form, a copy of which is attached with the site-visit report, runs into three pages and consists a declaration that the applicant is totally in the favour of the project.
“We all are with the project plan, and whosoever becomes obstruction to the project, today or in future will together voice against him and will support the thermal power plant to be established by Welspun Energy U.P. Pvt. Ltd shoulder to shoulder,” says the text of the declaration and the applicant and his family members are required to put his signature on the first page itself. The details about the job application are to be filled in the next two pages. “It seems that because the project was coming up for consideration of EAC and the protest was growing against it in the region, the project propnents used this tactic to show they had the support of the local people,” said Sinha.
As per MoEF guidelines, the location of the thermal power station should be avoided in the vicinity of places of archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious or tourist importance. However, Wyndham Fall, a historical tourist place on Khajuri river, the newly built south campus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and the ancient Ludki Baba temple, are located within 7.5 km of the project site, claims the report.
The report claims that the project will result in the pollution of Upper Khajuri reservoir and river Khajuri, on which the entire population of the region depends for drinking water and irrigation. BHU has also written to MoEF, the copy of which is with Down to Earth, showing their concern for the health of students of BHU campus and the impact on the drinking water supply of the campus which depends entirely on Lower Khajuri Dam reservoir, which is fed by Upper Khajuri Dam reservoir. BHU has recommended shifting of the project to some other place. The Vindhya Bachao Andolan in its report has also countered most of the arguments for selection of the site, such as those on availability of resources and suitability of the topography as claimed in the EIA report.
The power company insists that the project is on revenue land. In response to the allegations sought by Down To Earth through email, the spokesperson of the Welspun Energy Limited wrote: "The EIA report is clear. As a responsible, transparent and an honest organization working in the energy sector, we too have nothing to hide. Our project stands on revenue land. We have been able to acquire the land and set up the plant because there is no reserved/ protected forestland involved at all.”
The spokesperson admitted that the access road to the project site was maintained by the Forest Department and that the land for the project was not acquired through the Land Acquisition Act. “There is no displacement of farmers involved as most of the plant stands on barren land. As and when there was requirement, we purchased additional land directly from the land owners as per their demand and not through Land Acquisition Act,” the spokesperson wrote.
Countering the allegations of water pollution, the spokesperson said: "For the welfare of the villagers we have set up a water scheme to bring in about 9.54 million cubic metre of water from Ganges to Upper Khajuri dam for meeting their irrigation requirement. This wasn’t the case earlier. Separately, water conservation measures like rain collection ponds as well as rain harvesting ponds have been considered to conserve the use of water."


Demonstration in Delhi: November 18, 2013

On November 18, 2013 a group of citizens stage a peaceful protest outside the SCOPE complex in New Delhi where the Expert Appraisal Committee of the MoEF was meeting to consider the project. The demonstration was part of the Vindhya Bachao movement to protect old virgin forests in Mirzapur and save the sloth bear habitat. The movement is backed by Mirzapur-based NTGO Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation.[11]

Project Details

Sponsor: Welspun Energy
Location: Dadri Khurd village, Mirzapur Sadar district, Uttar Pradesh, India
Coordinates: 25.136582, 82.562199 (approximate)
Status: Cancelled
Capacity: 1320 MW (2 x 660 MW)
Type: Supercritical
Projected in service:
Coal Type:
Coal Source:
Estimated annual CO2: 7,806,085 tons
Source of financing:
Permits and studies:

Articles and resources

References

  1. Terms of Reference, India MoEF, June 15, 2011.
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment, JM EnviroNet, 2011.
  3. Public Hearing Document, April 7, 2012.
  4. Debadityo Sinha, "Power plat at a Thermal Power Plant in Mirzapur," EJOLT, August 2014
  5. Environmental clearance, India MoEF, Aug 21, 2014
  6. "Monthly Report on Broad Status of Thermal Power Projects in the Country," Government of India Ministry of Power, March 2016
  7. "Adani Power in talks with Welspun Group to buy power plants," Economic Times, October 7, 2015
  8. Sarita Singh and Arijit Barman, "Tata Power acquires Welspun Energy's renewable assets for Rs 10,000 crore," Economic Times, June 13, 2016
  9. Anupam Chatterjee, "Uttar Pradesh: Government cancels 7 PPAs for 7,040-MW projects sans fuel linkage," Financial Express, 1 June 2017
  10. Kumar Sambhav, "Did Welspun fudge facts for its coal-fired power plant in Mirzapur?" Down to Earth, November 20, 2013
  11. "Peaceful Demonstration against Welspun Thermal Power Project in Delhi," Vindya Bacaho, 18 November 2013

Related SourceWatch articles

Loading map...

External resources

External articles