Pollution lens on plant

The environment and pollution control board of the Bihar Assembly has focused on the NTPC Kahalgaon super thermal power project within a week of chief minister Nitish Kumar criticising the project for spreading pollution.

By Gautam Sarkar in Bhagalpur
  • Published 22.02.18
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Fly ash being transported in Kahalgaon. (Gautam Sarkar)

Bhagalpur: The environment and pollution control board of the Bihar Assembly has focused on the NTPC Kahalgaon super thermal power project within a week of chief minister Nitish Kumar criticising the project for spreading pollution.

Nitish had visited Kahalgaon, around 274km east of Patna, on February 15 to inaugurate the Bateshwar Ganga Nahar Pump Yojna, a lift irrigation project.

C.P. Sinha, chairman of the board, who visited Kahalgaon on Monday, said a high-level team of the board would investigate the pollution and other health hazards in the villages near the NTPC project.

"The team would start the investigation in April but we have collected public opinion and other evidences of how the super thermal power project has been violating basic norms, causing heavy pollution," Sinha said. "We have targeted 2022 to make all the districts in Bihar free from pollution and have started work on it."

He said the board has received many public complaints against NTPC Kahalgaon for not taking appropriate measures to counter pollution caused during manufacturing of power from burning coals.

"I was surprised to find how the project allows discharge of fly ash and other plant waste directly to a stream which is connected with the Ganga," he said.

Addressing a sizable crowd at NTPC's ground after inauguration of the lift irrigation project, Nitish blamed the super thermal project for polluting its surroundings while ignoring the basic norms. He even advised the officials of the power project to adopt modern scientific techniques to counter such pollution. At the same event, local Congress MLA and former Assembly Speaker Sadanand Singh accused NTPC of endangering the health of residents of surrounding villages and urged Nitish to take action.

Attempts to contact K. Sridhar, general manager of NTPC Kahalgaon, for comments proved futile.