Rampal Power Plant: Myths debunked
It has been said that emission from the power plant will not reach the Sundarbans since the wind generally flows against the direction of the forest.
The report of the mission stated that due to “the intrinsic connectivity between the property and the Sundarbans forest, it is recommended that the Rampal power plant project is cancelled and relocated to a more suitable location where it would not negatively impact the Sundarbans Reserved Forest and the property.” It pointed towards the high likelihood of “contamination of the property and the surrounding Sundarbans forest from air and water pollution.” Yet, the 14 km myth still persists.
The claim that Rampal will use Ultra Super Critical Technology (USCT) has been one of the most oft-repeated arguments to justify the power plant’s construction.
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report (page 79) prepared by the government, Rampal will use Super Critical Technology (SCT).
Dr Ranajit Sahu, a US-based expert, who has over two decades of experience in the fields of environmental, chemical and mechanical engineering including design and specification of pollution control equipment, in an interview with us, says: “It is not clear when it was decided that Ultra Super Critical Technology will be used.
What is the meaning of changing the technology in the public documents if the tender document is not changed—since that is the critical document against which the engineering bidders will actually provide the technology?” This brings us to our second issue: that even if Ultra Super Critical Technology was being used, would it be a justification for the construction of a coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans?
Here one needs to understand that the difference between SCT and USCT is in how efficiently they can burn coal.
Dredging may impact the dolphins of Pashur and Maidara rivers, and dredging and increased shipping without ‘properly maintained regulations’ may ‘impact the Sundarbans ecosystem especially Royal Bengal tiger, deer, crocodile, dolphins, mangroves, etc.’” (“10 questions: authorities answers, counter response”, The Daily Star, September 7, 2016).
The Barapukuria coal-fired power plant has been used as an assurance.
The study found that fly ash generated from power plants has “noticeable negative impact on soil, water, air and so on, of environment.” The blackish water of the nearby river Tilai shows the intensity of contamination due to the coal-fired power plant.