Dear Friends, Attaching a file I recieved from Jayendra.
Kindly read and Be Enlightened. regards, philip neri Dear All, I am sending you this Appeal ,regarding our issue about Konkan. Please go thro' the attachment & send it to your friends if you feel that this Ecofragile nature has to be saved. Dr Jayendra Parulekar. Konkan Rakshan va Samrudhdhi Manch. --- On Sun, 1/2/09, JAYENDRA PARULEKAR <jayendra_parule...@yahoo.co.in> wrote: To The Nature Lovers/Konkan premi people/Environmental Concious People, Re: Seeking Support for People's Movement to avert Impending Environmental Disaster in the Sindhudurg & Ratnagiri districts (Konkan Area) of Maharashtra Respected Sir/Madam, We, the members of Konkan Rakshan & Samruddhi Manch, a registered NGO (Reg no:Mah/2828/sindhudurg) wish to bring to your attention the impending environmental disaster in the Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts of Maharashtra, because of the coal and nuclear power project under various stages of development and the mining activity in dist Sindhudurg & to seek your support for our cause. In the following document, we would like to highlight the ecological as well as socioeconomic background of the area and the threat the said coal and nuclear power project & mining pose to the region. Background Konkan, A Biodiversity "Hot Spot" The coastal districts of Sindhudurg and the Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, which lie at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range (part of the western ghats) are acclaimed internationally for its rich biodiversity in the form of flora, fauna and marine life. The geographical location of the region is shown in figure 1. The hills of the western ghats cover 60,000 km² and form the catchment area for a complex of river systems that drain almost 40% of India. The average elevation is around 1,200 meters. The area is one of the world's ten "Hottest biodiversity hotspots" and has over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats. Climate in the Western Ghats varies with altitudinal gradation and distance from the equator. The climate is humid and tropical in the lower reaches tempered by the proximity to the sea. Elevations of 1,500 m (4,921 ft) and above in the north have a more temperate climate. The mean temperature range from 20 °C (68 °F) to 24 °C (75 °F). It has also been observed that the coldest periods coincide with the wettest. During the monsoon season between June and September, the unbroken Western Ghats chain acts as a barrier to the moisture laden clouds. The heavy, eastward-moving rain-bearing clouds are forced to rise and in the process deposit most of their rain on the windward side. Rainfall in this region averages 3,000-4,000 mm (120-160 in) with localised extremes touching 9,000 mm (350 in). The western ghat region of Maharashtra receives the heaviest rainfall, but is followed by long dry spells. Figure 1. Geographical location of Kokan Region and the Western Ghats Socio-economics of the Region Ratnagiri district's warm and humid weather is most suitable for horticulture, especially for mango, cashew and jackfruit. It has been declared as the Horticulture District by the Government of Maharashtra. The world-famous King of Mangoes Alphanso is grown here. Ratnagiri's cashew nuts are famous for generating much valued foreign exchange. Carved out of the erstwhile Ratnagiri district and second in the country to achieve 100 per cent literacy, the Sindhudurg district has been named after the famous sea-fort Sindhudurg, constructed by Chhatrapati Shivaji. Situated adjacent to Goa, this is the first district in Maharashtra to be declared as the Tourism District. Famous for its serene and beautiful beaches, temples, historical forts and folk art forms like Dashavtar, Chitrakathi, Pangul, Keertan, Dhangiri dance, Sindhudurg has a great potential for earning foreign exchange as an international tourism destination.  Issue Coal and Nuclear Power Plants In an alleged bid to combat the rising power shortage in the nation, the state is gearing to set up several coal and nuclear power plants in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. The list of proposed and under construction projects known so far are illustrated in table 1. Due to ignorance and the unquestioning law abiding attitude of the people in the region, the power plants have been specifically located in the extremely eco-sensitive region by vested interests in cahoots with government agencies, under the guise of power shortage. In the process of obtaining governmental clearance, several loopholes in the existing environmental laws are being exploited. In many cases, the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), required by the 1994 notification of Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) are being carried out without due diligence. Specifically in the case of Jindal SW Energy's plant at Jaigad Ph I, the EIA which should have, under guidelines, been carried out over a period of 1 year was actually carried out by EQMS, New Delhi, in mere 3 months conveniently executing a "rapid EIA". Table 1. List of proposed/Under Construction Power Projects in Konkan region. Fuel Type Capacity (MW) Location Taluka District Promoters Coal 1980 Bhopan Dapoli Ratnagiri GMR Electrical Coal 1600 Dhopave Guhagar Ratnagiri NTPC Coal 1200 Jaigad (Ph I) Ratnagiri Ratnagiri Jindal SW Energy Coal 3200 Jaigad (Ph II) Ratnagiri Ratnagiri Jindal SW Energy Coal 43 Ranpar (Ph I) Ratnagiri Ratnagiri Finolex Coal 1000 Ranpar (Ph II) Ratnagiri Ratnagiri Finolex Nuclear 9600 Madban, Jaitapur (Ph I) Rajapur Ratnagiri Nuclear Power Corp. Nuclear 5400 Madban, Jaitapur (Ph II) Rajapur Ratnagiri Nuclear Power Corp. Coal 4000 Munage Devgad Sindhudurg NTPC Coal 1980 Dhakore, Ajgao Vengurla Sindhudurg NTPC Table 1. L Falso statements/misrepresentations regarding reserve mangrove forests in the vicinity and marine fauna like corals have been made by the EIA executing agency (EQMS, New Delhi) on behalf of Jindal SW Energy to mislead the MoEF as well as the appeallate authority to which, the latter seems to have fallen prey. While the current energy requirements of the region (Ratnagiri/Sindhudurg combined) is merely 167 MW, the proposed energy projects have a capacity of 30,003 MW, which is 180 times the actual requirements of the region. This disproportionality between the demand and the proposed generation in the region has the potential to irrevocably harm the highly fragile ecological balance that exists within such a narrow strip of land (mean width 30 km.) sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. Also in Dist Raigad,in Tal Alibaug alone 5 TPPs are coming up.Almost 8 to10 kms apart from one another.Already because of chemical industries there is a sizeable amount of pollution has happened in dist Raigad. Mining at the foothills of Sahyadri in Sindhudurg. After rampant mining in the neighbouring state of Goa for the last 50 years,in Satteri,Quepem,Bicholim & Sanguem total destruction of the Ecology is clearly evident there.Drinking Water contains dangerous metallic taste.People are suffering from various health problems because of Silicosis & TB in that part of Goa. Mining affected part of Goa is unknown to us.It is not Green ,it is Brown & Red in colour every where.Lots of accidents happen every week because of irresponsible & rash driving by the trucks loaded with minig ore.Inspite of this unimaginably high mining for so many years Govt of Goa earns only 4% of its total revenue from the minig industry. As the iron ore reserves in Goa are coming to its end,the mining corporate houses are now attraced towards the adjoining dist Sindhudurg.At the foothills of Sahyadri in dist Sindhudurg there are lots of sites very rich in iron,nickel,boxite etc.Especially the Iron found here is not of very high quality but it's a low grade Iron ore.It is only accepted in a few countries like China.It is not used for our national steel industry. If this mining activity begins in a big way here in the tal Dodamarg,Sawantwadi,Kudal in dist Sindhudurg it will destroy the enriched & highly Biodiversed Nature of this region.It will break the Ecological balance of this zone. . Figure 2. Disproportionality between the current energy demand and proposed energy generation in the konkan region of Maharashtra. Further, if the proposed energy projects are allowed to proceed, it is the people of the region who will bear the brunt of the ecological disaster and life threatening pollution. In return, the energy generated in these power plants will not be of any benefit to the local populace because these projects are designed to cater to industrial/ merchant power needs (MPP). As a result, this energy will be routed with priority to highly profitable commercial load centers rather than meeting the needs of domestic electrification in semi-urban and rural areas, where profit margins are meager. Action Required Designate the Region as "No Polluting Industry" Zone In light of the facts and data presented above, we request the Government of Maharashtra, MoEF (Government of India) and all concerned authorities to declare the region of Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts as Environmentally Fragile(ECOSENSITIVE) and hence request designation of "No Polluting Industry" Zone. This action should facilitate the formation of an authority which will regulate the developmental needs of the region along the lines of those in the Industrial Policy of Goa and the Dahanu Taluka Environmental Protection Authority, Maharashtra. Compel the Government of Maharashtra to table the Pendse-Kadrekar Committee Report The Pendse Kadrekar Committee, which was appointed by Government of Maharashtra in the 1990s to assess the environmental suitability of industrialization of the Konkan region, has categorically and unequivocally recommended the use of non-conventional energy like hydroelectric,(micro hydroelectric,mini hydroelectric etc.)the potential for which is immense (12,000 MW). Since the government has not tabled this report in the house, it has not been brought up for discussion whenever developmental issues are debated. This lackadaisical approach has prevented the consideration of non-conventional and non-polluting energy generation in the region. Similar reports in the past have been shelved as well. To Impress upon Government of Maharashtra to Pursue Non Conventional Energy While a host of environmentally friendly options for generating enegy exist, they are not apparently attractive due to their lower return on invested capital in the short run. However, in the long run, they have proven to be sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to satisfying our ever growing energy demands, while balancing the growth requirements. We earnestly seek your much needed intervention to communicate with many who may be concerned about such issues & to impress upon the Government of Maharashtra ,MoEF,Ministry of Power & Ministry of Mining to reconsider. In conclusion, we would like to point out that we are running out of time and options to save one of the most precious ecological treasures of our nation. The combined might of corporate houses and their supporters in government of the day can hardly be matched by the people of the region, who are visualizing the impending disaster in the region, be it environmental, socio-economic or otherwise. Sincerely, Konkan Rakshan & Samruddhi Manch, Sindhudurg; References 1. V.S. Vijayan. "Research needs for the Western Ghats". Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). Retrieved on 2007-06-21. 2. "The Peninsula". Asia-Pacific Mountain Network. Retrieved on 2007-03-19. 3. Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier, C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. Da Fonseca, and J. Kent. (2000) "Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities." Nature 403:853-858, retrieved 6/1/2007MYERS, N. 4. "Biodiversity of the Western Ghats - An Overview". Wildlife Institute of India. Retrieved on 2007-03-19. 5. The Gazatteer's Department; Government of Maharashtra; (http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/RATNAGIRI/about_ratnagiri.html. Retrieved on 2008-12-24). 6. Government of Goa; DRAFT INDUSTRIAL POLICY OF GOA 2001; (http://goagovt.nic.in/documents/indpol.htm Retrieved on 2008-12-25) 7. The Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority (DTEPA): (http://www.freedahanu.org/dahanuauthority.html Retrieved on 2008-12-25)