Manka Behl, Times News Network, June 2 2017
The four-member team of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) from Vadodara completed its monitoring of Koradi Thermal Power Station’s (KTPS’s) air quality on Thursday. It will take back the samples to Vadodara, analyse the data and submit a report to its head office in Delhi in a week.
The team was in the city on the directives of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) which had responded to a complaint filed by activist Ankita Shah. The activist had raised the issue on the basis of news reports published by TOI in April when the Narendra Modi had come to dedicate some power units to the nation.
Sources told TOI that the CPCB team had set up air quality monitors in four villages — Suradevi, Waregaon, Singhori and Bokhara — on Wednesday morning. “The monitors were kept on the spot for 24 hours for collecting the samples. The team also installed its equipment in stack (chimney) of Koradi plant on Wednesday evening. The members also talked to the residents of the affected villages,” they said.
TOI has learnt that the team had brought portable equipment with it to monitor ambient and stack air quality. “The team came from Vadodara in a car carrying all the equipment. It was a surprise visit — neither Mahagenco, the company which runs KTPS — nor the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials were in the know,” a source said.
Being the complainant, Shah expects CPCB to share the results of monitoring with her. “Transparency demands that this should be done as the issue concerns public health. There should be no need of filing a Right to Information (RTI) query to know the results,” she said.
Environment experts like Debi Goenka have stressed that air quality should be monitored round the year for getting the right picture.
The air quality monitoring data of both Mahagenco and MPCB shows the total particulate matter (TPM) is within permissible limits. However, when TOI had visited the affected villages on April 26, residents had complained of multiple problems they face due to air pollution. Moreover, MPCB monitors are not installed in worst affected villages like Suradevi and Ghogali.
As per Mahagenco’s data, sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions are over five times than that permitted by the ministry of environments and climate change (MoEFCC). MPCB’s data showed them to be negligible. Though Mahagenco had assured to install a flue gas desulphuriser (FGD), an equipment to reduce SO2 in KTPS, in its consent of MPCB, it still has not installed it.
As reported by TOI earlier, the state government and the company is trying to waive off the condition. The pollution regulator is not taking any action on KTPS.