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Nitin Gdkari to MAHAGENCO CMD

Nitin Gdkari to MAHAGENCO CMD

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari mailed Sanjay Khandare, MAHAGENCO CMD, to ask him to ensure compliance with environmental and other standards in disposal of flyash from Khaparkheda Thermal Power Plants.

He also demanded strict action against violators.

After hearing numerous complaints from the region, a team of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change officials visited the villages affected by fly ash and ash slurry being dumped from the Khaparkheda Thermal Power Station, (KTPS), near Nagpur.

KTPS was notified by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, (MPCB), to immediately stop disposing or dumping ash slurry at the Nandgaon ash pond approximately 20-oddkm to its north.

Residents from Nandgaon and Zilla Parishad members have been protesting illegal dumping of ash slurry on their farmlands for the past few months in violation of all environmental regulations. Fly ash was also being dumped in violation of environmental rules without any no-objection certificate (NOC).

A team consisting of officials from the MOEF&CC (Maharashtra power department), MPCB, village sarpanch, and representatives from Centre for Sustainable Development, a Nagpur-based advocacy think tank, visited multiple locations around KTPS including Nandgaon river Kolar, pumping station, leaky pipeline that led to slurry, and other locations. The officials of the pollution control board took samples from various locations.

The team also visited the Bhanegaon Bridge, where they could see the Kanhan river’s direct discharge from the Khaparkheda plants. Officials tried to pretend it was a natural stream but the stream was full ash and was being directly released into the river. The MPCB officials were able to take samples from the bridge.

Following the site visit, officials at the thermal plant assured mitigation steps. Leena, CFSD’s Leena, Buddhe said that her organization was more than willing to cooperate with the team of pollution mitigation specialists on site to aid the villagers.

The affected villagers had asked the MPCB, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company MAHAGENCO, and the state’s Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray for assistance in addressing the serious issue.

Sonali Manoj Varkhade from Nandgaon, Sarpanch, explained how the pollution affected the entire village. “The ash slurry was destroying our farms, polluting drinking water, and having severe health effects. The fly ash was spreading across the area, causing air pollution. This Ash Pond has not been approved by Gram Panchayat.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board regional office (Nagpur), issued a Direction Notice on February 3. It pointed out that it had received numerous complaints about the disposal of ash slurry into Nandgaon ash pond, without permission or providing any precautionary measures. This amounts to a violation to various environment norms.

“Accordingly, Boards officials had checked the Nandgaon Ash Pond and verified that ash slurry was being disposed of in the Nandgaon Ash Pond without any pollution control measures. a Therefore, you (KTPS), have been directed to follow the following directions: You must immediately stop dumping ash slurry into Nandgaon ash pond. Fly ash notification must be followed for proper utilization of flyash,” the notice stated. The MPCB warned that strict action would be taken if you fail to follow the guidelines.

Varkhade welcomed the development but said that the demand was for a permanent ban on disposal.

(With inputs from IANS

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Published at 01:22 p.m. IST on Monday, February 7, 2022

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