Please sign the online petitions below to express your solidarity and support for the actions proposed by the Environment Ministry in the show cause notices
Petition for action against Mundra Port and SEZ
Petition for action against OPG Power Project

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Violent twist to the hitherto nonviolent struggle by Fisherfolk against OPG power plant

Click here Sign a Petition to urge the Government officials to stop the illegal and fraudulent activities of OPG Power Plant.

Fisherfolk in Bhadreshwar village and nearby villages have been opposing the 300 MW OPG power plant proposed in Bhadreshwar Village for several months. The local communities mainly feared the harmful impact of the power plant upon their health and livelihoods and the company’s EIA report created grave concern about loss of livelihoods of nearly 20,000 fisherfolk and salt pan workers. See Likely impact of Industries on Fishing

The public hearing for the Environment Clearance of the project held on May 29th 2009, witnessed unprecedented opposition by Fisherfolk, Salt pan workers and other members of the local communities. After the public hearing, several representations have been made to various authorities such as the GPCB, MoEF highlighting the fraudulent methods being used by OPG in order to get Environment Clearance for the project. See Public hearing for OPG Power Project in Bhadreshwar village, 29th May, 2009.

Since July, the fishing community had been put under lot of pressure due to several attempts by OPG to start construction activity even before Environmental Clearance was given for the project. On August 5th, several trucks arrived at the project site and they were gently asked by representatives of the Fishing community not to start construction as clearance had not yet been obtained. A Letter was issued to the local Panchayat to ensure that no construction is started without Environmental clearance.

However, the company made another attempt on August 9th to start construction and this time brought private security guards with them. The representatives of the fishing community got legal notices issued to the company not to start construction without clearance and to government officials not to abet the unlawful activities of the OPG group. See Community Gears up to Stop Illegal Activity by OPG Power Plant

Inspite of these efforts, no action was taken by the Government authorities to enforce law and the company, in its desperation to start construction hired and stationed 15 persons from the local community as security guards in the project site on August 22nd. This led to a clash on August 23rd between member of the fishing community and the security persons, which led to 7 people getting injured and two motorcycles being burnt. Among the persons injured were four members of the Fishing community, 2 members of Luni village, and 1 person from Bhadreshwar village.

In response to a complaint filed by the father of the injured person from Bhadreshwar village, the Mundra police have arrested 31 persons from the Fishing community.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Community Gears up to Stop Illegal Activity by OPG Power Plant

Click here Sign a Petition to urge the Government officials to stop the illegal and fraudulent activities of OPG Power Plant.

The proposed 300 MW coal based thermal power plant promoted by M/s OPG Power Gujarat Pvt Ltd. in Bhadreshwar Village, Mundra Taluka, Kutch is not in public interest and being opposed by representatives of the affected local community due to the following reasons:

1. The company has tried to hide the impacts of the project by misguiding the public and the authorities about the location of the project and falsely stating in their EIA report that there is no habitation with 5 km radius of the power plant and that the nearest village Bhadreshwar is 5 km away from the project. But, in reality, air and water pollution from the power plant is likely to

a. Detrimentally impact the health of 20,000 villagers who live within a 5 km radius of the power plant
b. Affect marine life and affect the livelihood of 6000 fisherfolk residing on Randh Bander, which has the second highest Fish production in Kutch.
c. Pollute the salt manufactured in salt pans adjacent to the power plant thereby rendering the salt unfit for consumption or sale and depriving the salt pan owners and nearly 13,000 salt workers of their livelihood
d. Affect ancient historical and religious sites in the area, i.e. the Chokhand Mahadev temple, the 1500 year old Jain Vasai temple and pilgrimage centre and the Dargah Sharif, all of which are located within a 5 km radius of the power plant.
e. The project will also negatively impact the reserve forest area and a fledgling afforestation project being carried out by the Adani group, both of which are located within a 5 km radius of the power plant.

Thus, the company claim that there is no habitation in 5 km radius of proposed power plant is totally false and an attempt to mislead the authorities. See below the map of the 5 km radius area of the power plant.

* Click on the image to see the full size image.

2. The company has violated the provisions of the EIA Notification by submitting a false and misleading EIA report. The EIA report attempts to mislead the people and the Hon’ble members of the Environment Clearance committee both as to the location of the thermal power plant as well as its true impact on the health and livelihood of the local community and the environment.

3. The project is proposed to be set up in a CRZ area which is impermissible under the provisions of the CRZ notification, without prior clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The project faced strong opposition during the public hearing held on May 29th, 2009, See Public hearing for OPG Power Project in Bhadreshwar village, 29th May, 2009.

Detailed Memoranda have been sent to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board and MoEF officials, and also Honorable Minister of Environment and Forests, Shri.Jairam Ramesh with full details of the above issues seeking rejection of Environment Clearance for the Project.

While the local community is vehemently opposing the project for the above reasons, the company officials are violating Environmental laws by attempting to start construction of the project even before the GPCB clears the project. Legal notices have already been issued to Company officials not to start construction without Environmental Clearance and to the District administration not to abet the unlawful activities of the Company.