The area through which the belt passes is an extremely fertile orchard area, says activist.

 A 5 km conveyor belt to carry coal across agri land Cheyyur erupts in anger
news Environment Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 19:51

More than 300 farmers protested on Tuesday against the coal conveyer belt of the Cheyyur power plant alleging that it will cross through their agricultural lands and affect their livelihood.

The farmers carried out a road roko at Vilambur around 1 pm on Tuesday. The conveyer belt will cover a distance of about five kilometres in Cheyyur.

Sathish, a fisherman from Kadapakkam told The News Minute, “We want the work of the coal conveyer to be stopped. It will affect both the farmers and fishermen in the area. The coal will reach the rivers and affect the fishermen and due to the coal dust, the trees and agricultural land will be affected.”

He added that there was a land survey by the government on Tuesday. “We wanted to tell them that we are against having coal conveyer belt in the area even though the project has been approved by the government,” he said.

Environment activist Nityanand Jayaraman said that first for coal conveyer belt, one will need land and then it will be used for accommodating the coal conveyer belt. “The area through which the belt passes is an extremely fertile orchard area, the farmers get a lot of fruits and plenty of water. So, for them to give off the land will be a loss, they live in small houses so that the land is maximised for agriculture use,” he said.

Moreover, he said that there will be pollution from the coal. “When one builds a conveyer belt, there will be pollution from the coal that will spread over a very large distance. The coal does tend to settle on leaves and hinder photosynthesis, also the health effects and what if there is an explosion?” he said. 

He also added that one map also shows that there will be a canal dug which will affect the drainage system. “It will be dug beneath the coal conveyor corridor to carry the storm water from Cheyyur power plant area to the sea. If that happens, it is going to very badly affect the drainage of that area,” he said. 

It will also affect the fishing villages. “The conveyer belt will eventually reach the fishing villages and there they want to have a port and about 80,000 tonnes of coal will be stored there that will cause problem for them,” he said.

Last year, a report by the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) had stated that the 4000 Megawatt (MW) Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Plant is a non-starter at best, or a financial disaster for consumers, TANGEDCO and the state government if it actually gets built.

The report said that in 2016-2017 there will be generation of 11.2 per cent excess electricity in the state. “In such a case, there is no use of a power plant which will generate 4000 MW of electricity. Instead, the state should invest in proper transmission and distribution of the electricity,” said S. Gandhi, former Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) engineer and president of Power Engineers Society of Tamil Nadu.

 

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