Adani Group – the world’s first supercritical technology based thermal power project to have received CDM project certification from UNFCCC – fails to guarantee environmental and social integrity to the Mundra community. Promises of sustainable development and trivial environmental effects remain only on paper.
In a report of a committee set up by the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to inspect the project of Adani Power Ltd (APL) in Mundra, it has been revealed that the company had not only violated and failed to comply with environmental clearance but also that they had bypassed some environmental procedures. Somehow, Adani Group seems to have managed to lure the UNFCCC with their beautiful promises.
In their Project Design Document (PDD), approved in February 2013 by the UNFCCC, they declare that this project will contribute to sustainable development and even that “impacts due to the construction of the project activity are very negligible as it would be only for a period of three years as compared to the lifetime of the power plant (25 years). Associated activities would cause air pollution which would be short-term and would cease to exist beyond the construction phase.”
In the PDD, they proposed to provide a proper ash utilisation plan but only on April 18, 2011, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) issued a notice to the Thermal Power Plant for fugitive emissions. GPCB observed fugitive emission due to movement of fly ash loaded dumpers and other heavy vehicles and also undertook a site inspection as a result of a complaint filed by residents of nearby villages. The findings indicated that fly ash generated from the plant was being collected in fly ash silo.
Mangroves had been cut for laying pipelines and construction of roads; mangroves in Bocha Island have also been cut. In December 2010, an inspection team under one of the Ministry of Environment and Forest officials was sent based on complaints from local people. The report presented after the visit, found many instances of non-compliances.
In their Project Development Design, APL stated that the project “will be beneficial to the local rural community by providing substantial employment opportunities and reinforcing social infrastructure in the region.” Fishermen in the area would probably disagree. In 2008, the latter expressed concerns about inconvenience in fishing operations due to limited or no access to fishermen in the area.
When I first met some local fishermen, it did not take too much time to understand why they resent this plant. Some have worked in this part of Gujarat coast for generations, basing themselves close to the sea for many months of the year. Their way of life has been severely disrupted, as has that of many villagers whose land has been swallowed by the SEZ (Special economic zone). Their only source of income has been taken away. However, fishermen are not the only ones concerned by this destruction of the environment. Farmers, cattle-breeders and salt-pan workers living along the coast are also touched by this. One of them declared ”We believe that our livelihood is being adversely affected and we fear the conditions to only become grimmer due to the rapid, haphazard and environmentally unsustainable industrialisation that is taking place along the coast of Mundra taluka.”