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Govt approval to Khurja Coal Plant is a step back in tackling Air Pollution: Greenpeace India

Greenpeace India on Thursday said the government’s approval for setting up 1320 MW Khurja Super Thermal Power Plant in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh is a step back in tackling Air Pollution and providing affordable electricity.

The approval comes at a time when the coal power sector is reeling under multiple challenges, including low Plant Load Factor (PLF) due to high cost of coal power and inability of distribution companies to purchase power.

Pujarini Sen from Greenpeace India said: “After allocating a mere 400 crore for implementation of National Clean Air Program (NCAP) which was supposed to move India towards clean air, Government approval for Rs.11,089.42 crore investment for a coal power plant in the most polluted National Capital Region (NCR) is a double blow to public money and public health.”

Earlier this week, a report from Greenpeace & AirVisual pointed out that 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world were in India and among them NCR is the most polluted region in India. 7 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in Uttar Pradesh, the state in which the Khurja plant will be located.
Studies suggest Uttar Pradesh accounted for 2.6 lakh deaths in 2017 out of 12.4 lakh deaths across India due to air pollution along with huge decrease in life expectancy for populations living in Bulandshahr.

The power plant will receive its coal from Amelia coal block in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. Mining in Amelia would result in the destruction of close to a million trees in one of the oldest sal forests in central India.

“This investment is going to be a disaster in multiple ways – located in the most polluted region in the world, destroy one of the oldest forests in the country, displace vulnerable communities dependent on the forest, put enormous pressure on the stressed coal power sector and increase cost of power purchase for struggling distribution companies” added Sen.

Another thermal power plant of the same size, to be based in Buxar, Bihar, was also approved, with the investment of Rs.10,439.09 crores.

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