Activists oppose nuclear, thermal plants in Konkan

February 10th, 2009 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Feb 10 (IANS) The Save Western Ghats (SWG) movement, comprising of environmentalists and nature-lovers from throughout the country, has decided to form an action plan to oppose the setting up of thermal power plants and a nuclear power-plant along the Konkan coast.

The decision was taken following SWG’s national consultative workshop attended by over 100 delegates from seven states. The workshop was also attended by international delegates from Japan, Holland and Britain.

“We have decided to prepare a ‘State of the Western Ghats’ report, which will analyse the health of the environment in the Sahyadri region. We will also hold a series of meetings in the Western Ghat’s hotspots, where the ecological balance is likely to be threatened with the proposed developmental projects,” Kumar Kalanand Mani, one of the organisers of the SWG movement, told reporters late Tuesday.

“We will oppose the setting up of thermal power plants in the Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg regions of the Konkan and the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur,” he said.

Jayant Parulekar, who represents the SWG in the Konkan region, told IANS that the thermal power projects, which were proposed to salvage the deteriorating power scenario in Maharashtra, would severely affect the ecological balance of the Western Ghats, regarded as a prime ecological hotspot in the world.

“It is feared that the thermal plants would generate nearly 100,000-tonne fly ash every day, which will virtually choke the Western Ghats,” Parulekar said.

He warned that with the setting up of a nuclear plant in Jaitapur in Maharashtra and with the already existing nuclear plant at Kaiga in northern Karnataka, Goa would be right in the middle of a nuclear sandwich.

“Despite the best of precautions, the Chernobyl fiasco happened. With the setting up of the Jaitapur nuclear plant, Goa would be virtually nuclear-sandwiched,” Parulekar said.

Pandurang Hegde, founder of the Appiko movement, which is the southern equivalent of the Chipko movement in the Himalayas, said with the rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, the Sahyadris would in the near future be the only cushion against global warming.

“Protecting the Sahyadris is no longer an option. It is now a compulsion,” he said.

The Western Ghats are spread over a 1,600 km narrow strip of land on the western coast of India stretching from Dhule in Maharashtra right up to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

The SWG first shot into focus when a group of 3,000 green activists marched through the length of the Western Ghats in 1988 creating awareness about preserving the region.

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