Mettur, 6 September, 2009 — Trial runs begun by Chemplast four days ago have led to widespread complaints among nearby residents as the noise associated with the release of steam from the boiler is “unbearably high.” One local resident reported that the noise can be heard as far away as in Raman Nagar and Rettai Puliyamaram areas, far removed from the site of the power plant. The resident reported that steam is released at least five times a day. A complaint to this effect was faxed to the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board 4 September.
The 48.5 MW coal-fired thermal power plant does not have a license to operate. The license to operate for Plant III, within which the thermal plant is located, expired in September 2008. The construction of the power plant was contested by Gonur West Agriculturists Development Union on grounds that the project did not seek or obtain an environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment & Forests. Neither did the company perform an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project. The project was stopped by the court for nearly a year, following which the matter was returned to the Pollution Control Board to adjudicate. Predictably, the Board decided to allow the company to construct and operate the coal fired thermal power plant through an order of 22 June, 2009. The Board, however, indicated that it intends to prosecute the company for fraudulently under-declaring the investment cost of the power plant as Rs. 45 crores, instead of Rs. 117 crores.
The farmers union has filed a notice for prosecution of the company directors with the Pollution Control Board.