Cheyyur power plant a recipe for disaster: experts

Hundreds of villages would face the fate of Chennai, which suffered severe flooding in the recent rains, if the Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Plant is commissioned, say environmentalists and social activists.

Participating at a press meet in Chennai on Friday, they said that the proposed 4000-megawatt ultra power project (UMPP) in Cheyyur village located near the coastal belt of Kancheepuram district would damage the ecologically sensitive zone comprising lagoons and water bodies.

Environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman said the 4000-MW thermal power plant to be promoted by Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited would severely impact the environment, livelihood of the villagers and cattle.

Irrigated by 81 water bodies, Cheyyur was the buffer for numerous villages against flooding, he said.

The UMPP components of captive port, plant site, coal conveyors and ash pond would destroy the natural draining courses into the sea, he said.

S Janakarajan, retired professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, said that the environmentalists were not against the development of infrastructure projects, but these should not be carried out at the cost of the ecosystem.

It was surprising that the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Union Ministry of Environment had cleared the project, which is to come up on more than 160 acres of water bodies.

Hydrogeologist J Saravanan, citing a report published by Community Environmental Monitoring (CEM) against this plant, warned the project would damage the bio shields of sand dunes and floating aquifers, which guarded against intrusion of seawater into the ground water in the villages.