Karnataka: 3 units of Bellary Thermal Power Station ‘unclean’, finds study | Hubballi News – Times of India


HUBBALLI: Although it has been more than five years since the Union ministry of environment and forests and climate change issued a fresh set of guidelines for controlling the emission of polluting gases at power stations, many such units in Karnataka continue to violate these norms. A study conducted by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has classified three units of the Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) as ‘unclean’.
According to the colour code used by the researchers for the study, those units classified under ‘yellow’ are considered cleaner, while those marked ‘orange’ or ‘red’ are considered unclean and hence, dangerous. Units one, two and three at the BTPS have been grouped under the ‘orange’ class. Among the findings in the study submitted by the researchers is that BTPS has failed to check emissions of sulphur-di-oxide (SO2). The Union ministry’s norms show that unchecked SO2 emission is the indication of a very poorly maintained power station. The ministry’s norms also stipulate the upper limit for particulate matter in the air at the plant.
Although BTPS has fared poorly in the assessment conducted by CSE, the eight units at the Raichur Thermal Power Station, UNITS OF YERAMARUS TPS, KUDGI STPS were classed by the researchers under the ‘yellow’ group.
Since coal is a highly-polluting fuel, power stations, even those that do not fall within the administrative purview of non-attainment or polluted cities – the requirement is that, if these power stations are within a 300-km radius of such urban centres – they are required to ensure their operations are conducted in adherence to the norms. Highlighting the risk of failure to meet the norms, the study pointed out that it exposed a significant section of the populace in the vicinity of the stations to health hazards.
Deputy programme manager of CSE Soundaram Ramanathan said that the data supplied by the Central Electricity Authority of the Union power ministry served as the basis for their study. “Environmental norms need to be followed everywhere, more so in a place such as Ballari, which is fairly POPULATED. With a modernised plant with a 700MW-capacity, BTPS must comply to the Union environment ministry’s norms at least by 2022,” Ramanthan told TOI.
Roshna K, a senior research engineer for Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, Bengaluru, said, “We were assured by the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd that the process had already been initiated to ensure adherence to these rules. We are told that plant is planning to install it and the tendering process is initiated to control SO2 emissions. We hope that the operations at these stations are in compliance with all the rules by December 2022.”
However, BTPS executive director Narendra Kumar said that he was unaware of such a study having been conducted. “We were not approached by anyone seeking details on the action we have taken to comply with environmental norms,” Kumar told TOI.
‘Ensure compliance to norms on priority’
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Coal is a polluting fuel, and power plants must meet the rules laid down by the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change on priority. The authorities concerned must work towards this, and region-specific plans need to be chalked out. This is a healthcare emergency.
-Anumita Roychowdhury | Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi



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Sagar Biswas

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