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Lignite-based power plant in Bhavnagar dumping effluents, 'polluting' groundwater

By Our Representative 
The Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd (GSECL), the state-owned electricity generation company, is in the eye of storm in the rural areas of Bhavnagar district for allegedly polluting groundwater sources. Running lignite-based power plant in Padva village of Ghogha taluka of the district, GSECL took over the plant from another state-run Bhavnagar Energy Company Ltd about 18 months ago.
Top Ahmedabad-based environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has said that despite frequent representations by senior village activist Ghanshyamsinh Jadeja based on Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) water samples of groundwater pollution, "nothing is being done to change things."
The letter, signed by Mahesh Pandya, director, Paryavaran Mitra, said that the GPCB samples taken on January 24 and 29 show that water in the open village well had total dissolved solid (TDS) to the tune of 2,833 mg/litre, while the chemical oxygen demand (COD) was 30 mg/litre, which was “much higher than the norm.”
Another GPCB sample, taken from the checkdam situated within the premises of the lignite plant, had TDS to the tune of 3,140 mg/litre, COD 489 mg/litre, and biological oxygen demand (BOD) 61mg/litre. The letter said, "This shows that the GSECL is actually dumping effluents into the checkdam, which is a criminal offence. Clearly, the effluents seep in and pollute groundwater of the nearby rural areas."
The third GPCB sample, taken from the open effluent channel, which again is situated with the plant premises, shows that the TDS was 2068 mg/litre, COD 837 mg/litre, and BOD 107 mg/litre. "This suggests, untreated effluent is dumped straight into the checkdam", the letter said.
Pointing out that groundwater pollution resulting from the plant is harming agricultural crops, and the drinking water is no more potable, the letter demanded immediate steps to "purify" and "treat" the effluents before sending them to the checkdam. It also demanded restoration of the pond, which existed till 2012.
The pond was filled up, and instead the checkdam came up, which became handy to dump effluents from the plant – an action which has been declared illegal by the Gujarat High Court, the letter said, insisting, “Criminal complaint should be filed against officials responsible for such negligence.”

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