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Adopt location theory to set up power plants: Expert

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, June 17: The Union and state governments should adopt 'Location Theory' while setting up power plants to minimise adverse impact on ecology, noted ecologist D K Subramanian said today.

Speaking at a seminar on ''Energy, Environment and Development'' organised in the backdrop of the proposed Tadadi Super Thermal project in the ecologically fragile Uttara Kannada district, he said ''In a bid to meet the ever increasing power demand, the governments are setting up power plants in ecologically fragile areas casuing serious damage to the environment.

''They have not been sensitive in working out suitable power engineering systems or follow location theory which envisages setting up of plants near load centres, like big cities and industrial hubs to minimise transmission and distribution (T and D) losses which had assumed alarming proportions in the recent years.'' The Former Karnataka Environment Secretary said T and D losses had touched a staggering 36 per cent during 2001-02 in the country and further gone up this year. To minimise the adverse effects on ecology, more power plants should be set up near pit heads of coal mines, like it was done in some places in Bihar, he suggested.

Prof Subramanian, also former Professor of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, advocated setting up of power projects using alternate energies like wind, solar power, bio mass and bio gas.

Citing Tamil Nadu and Gujarat which generated 1500 MW and 2000 MW of power respectively, he pointed out that increasing power generation using eco friendly wind power as technology was not a problem now.

Governments should give a serious thought to producing power utilising bio waste rather than exhausting the fast depleting coal reserves. In Karnataka alone, 100,000 metric tonnes of bio waste was produced every year, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Karnataka Forest and Environment Minister C Chennigappa, who also spoke, said though the government was committed to protect forests and environment, it had to strike a balance between preserving ecology and ushering development. For achieving development, enhancing ower production was inevitable. He said the government was keen on increasing the forest cover in the state and it had even received good support from the industry which had offered funds for this purpose. ''Unfortunately there is not enough land available to take up forestation. Increasing population is the main cause of denudation of forests and the same reason is proving as a hurdle for the government to increase the forest cover,'' he added.

Sri Vishveshwara Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math, who had been fighting against the projects that affected the fragile Western Ghats, said the proposed Tadadi Super Thermal Project could cause serious ecological damage in Uttara Kannada. Though the government officials had claimed that modern technology would be used to minimise the problems of fly ash, hot water discharge and loss of forest cover, they would have to prove it and convince the locals.

Otherwise people would continue their fight against the project, he added.


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