Friday, September 27, 2013

Gujarat Forum, apex body of clean technology NGOs, asks Centre to withdraw Adani Power's eco-certificate

By Our Representative
The Gujarat Forum on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is an apex body of several environmental bodies and individuals, has asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, to withdraw the approval letter granted to the Adani Power for its CDM project – grid connected energy efficient power generation – installed in the coal fired power unit in the Mundra special economic zone (SEZ) in order to earn carbon credits from the international market. In a letter to Dr A Duraisamy, director and member-secretary, National CDM Authority, the Gujarat Forum has said that the registration to the Adani Power cannot continue after a high-level committee headed by top environmentalist Sunita Narain, appointed by the MoEF itself, found "serious environmental violations" by the Adani Power.
The letter comes three weeks after an international advocacy group asked the Government of India to withdraw the eco-certificate granted to the Adanis’ power project following top international traders, EDF, a major buyer of carbon credits from carbon offsetting projects around the world, declaring that it was “distancing” itself from the Adani project (click HERE). Citing the EDF’s decision, the advocacy group Carbon Market Watch (CMW) asked New Delhi to “withdraw the CDM approval for the project”. It said, New Delhi should follow suit as EDF Trading has in a statement published French energy daily “Enerpresse” stated that it “is no longer associated contractually under the CDM, with this [Adani Mundra] supercritical coal power project in India.” The CMW also cited the Sunita Narain report to demand the withdrawal of CDM certification.
The letter, signed by two dozen organizations and individuals, says that the grid connected energy efficient power generation, was registered under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) “in violation with various national regulations, as highlighted in the inspection committee report of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) released in April 2013.” The CDM project is located at the villages Tunda and Siracha, Mundra taluka, Kutch district of Gujarat. In September 2012, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) constituted a committee for inspection of Adani Port and SEZ Ltd., Mundra, Gujarat. The thermal power plant is among the three distinct components of the project area. Among others, the committee was supposed to verify the following:
1. The development of power plant with respect to the approved components.
2. The compliance with the conditions of the Environment Clearance granted for the power plant.
3. The likely impacts on agriculture due to ingress of salinity resulting from creation of huge water body of sea water for Adani Power Plant at Mundra Taluka.
4. Issues related to handling of fly ash by Adani Power Limited and particularly with reference to the notification on utilization of fly ash.
The letter says, “In April 2013, the inspection committee issued a report presenting factual information and analysis on what has gone wrong, as well as detailed recommendations on the future plan for remedial action. The official CDM project design document states that the project’s contribution to sustainable development, amongst others, because the super-critical technology based power plant would help in the improvement of environmental conditions in and around the locality of the project site. The proposed project activity would reduce the requirement of coal combustion and thus avoid emissions of CO2 and other air pollutants (SPM, Sox) in the atmosphere due to higher efficiency of power generation.”
This despite the fact that on April 18, 2011, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) “issued a directive to the thermal power project for controlling fugitive emissions.” In fact, “the GPCB officials observed fugitive emission due to movement of fly ash loaded dumpers and other heavy vehicles.” 
Things became further clearer after the April 2013 inspection report submitted to the MoEF, when the Sunit Narain committee stated that “even though the company submits that it has adequate pollution control equipments in place, their operation is an aspect that cannot be verified/ commented upon by the committee because of missing monitoring reports.” In particular, the report noted, “It is clear that the company has been less than serious about reporting on compliance with the conditions set at the time of clearance. In many cases non-compliance with reporting conditions has been observed.”
Citing the report, the letter states, “The overall assessment of the inspection report is that there are instances of violations and non-compliance with environmental conditions, which need to be addressed. The report also highlights that it is equally important that urgent steps are taken to repair damage and to mitigate future harm and sets out the agenda for action. Despite these serious violations of India’s air pollution regulation and evidence that the sustainable development criteria as highlighted in the project design document are not met the project remains registered as a CDM project.”
Based on this, the Gujarat Forum said, “the MoEF's own report finds non-compliance with national legislation and evidence that the project is not meeting the criteria of sustainable development set up by National CDM Authority (which is the Indian designated national authority).” Hence, “the approval of the National CDM Authority (Indian DNA) for Adani Thermal Power Project to be operating as a CDM project, be withdrawn.” It has added, “We also strongly recommend that urgent steps are taken to repair the damage and to mitigate future harm as proposed in the inspection committee report’s action plan.”
Among those who have signed the Gujarat Forum letter include Falguni Joshi of the Gujarat Forum on CDM, Ahmedabad; Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, Ahmedabad; Himanshu Banker of the Vikalp, Ahmedabad; Dr Subash Mohapatra of the Global Human Rights Communications, Bhubaneswar; Myron Mendes of Laya, Vishakapatnam; Ajita Tiwari of the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change; Soumya Dutta of the Climate and Energy Group, Beyond Copenhagen Collective (BCPH), India; Bikash Rath of the Regional Centre for Development Cooperation, Orissa; Gopal Krishna of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi; Samir Mehta of the International Rivers; Dharmesh Shah of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA); Gautam Thaker of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Ahmedabad; MSH Sheikh of the Brackish Water Research Center, Olpad; Arvind Padhiyar of the Mahisagar Shakti Sangathan, Padra, and several individual campaigners.

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