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Environmental Impact Report for Adani Group’s Hydro project ‘copy-pasted’

Uncover the environmental impact of Adani group's pumped hydro projects in Maharashtra's Western ghats. A report questions the authenticity of the EIA.

By Ground report
New Update
Patgaon Pumped Hydro Storage Environmental Impact

Adani group’s three pumped hydro projects in Maharashtra’s Western ghats have been under scrutiny. As per a report by Article 14, these projects were given ‘preliminary approval’ by the central government in the areas of Western Ghats termed ‘’ecologically sensitive”.

The three proposed projects, namely, are the Patgaon pump storage project in Kolhapur district, Tarali and Warasgaon in Satara and Pune districts.

Location Map of Tarali Pumped Storage Project, as per EIA

‘Copy-paste’ EIA

The environmental impact assessment in question is of the Tarali Pumped Hydro project. This report would open the way to construction on the project site. However, ​​Shripad Dharmadhikary –  founder of Manthan Adhyayan Kendra– wrote a strongly worded response questioning the discrepancies in the report, and even raising doubts about the authenticity of the EIA itself.

He took on X (formerly X) to call the EIA ‘shoddy’. He tweeted,

“Last week, I had an opportunity to study the ElA Summary report for the 1500 MW Tarali Pumped Storage scheme (Satara Dist. MH) in context of the Public Hearing scheduled on 12 Mar 24 as part of its Env Clearance process. I was taken aback to see how shoddy the ElA was (though given past experiences, shouldn't be surprised). It had blatant copy-paste from other reports, and contradictory statements on critical issues like forest land to be used. And I am not even bringing in problems of omissions and commissions on the substantive issues of environmental impact. The project promoter is Adani Green Energy Ltd, EIA consultant is R S Envirolink Technologies, and hearing is conducted by Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board. All leading companies or institution of the country, all would have highly competent staff. And the project is of Rs. 5600 crores. So why such a shoddy job then by the PP and EIA Consultant, and why did MPCB not even do a basic vetting of the report on which the public hearing was based? Obviously, bcoz none of them give much importance for the ElA or EC process, all know that public hearing (and public) hardly matters, and no one - certainly not MPCB - is going to ask any questions regarding the quality of the ElA report. It is taken for granted that EC will be given, no matter how bad the EIA report, or how much the env impact. This is how the "just" transition is progressing in the country. (Pasted below is a sec from EIA Summary. Tarali project actually has one existing and one new reservoir; and Pendekallu is in Anantpur Dist of AP)”

RS Envirolink Pvt Ltd, conducted the EIA. They have assessed several other projects in India, and also for the Adani Group.

​​Shripad and other experts have pointed out the inaccuracies, significant lack of scrutiny, and full of contradictions in the assessment. The assessment mentions names of water bodies which are in Andhra Pradesh and will not be utilised for this project.

As per an article by IndieJournal, the officials from RS Envirolink Pvt Ltd, agreed to the inconsistencies, and called them ‘typos’, and it was a ‘draft report’

The activists demanded to call off the 12th March public hearing, to no success. They have given their grievances to the authorities. 

With an exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism, Western Ghat is recognized as one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity.  | Flickr:Bikash Das

Two more projects to come

Adani group signed an MoU with the Maharashtra government for five pumped-hydro projects in the state. They are also suggested to be in the biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats. Hydropower plants, or pumper-hydro projects (PSPs) are classified as red category, i.e. these projects will have a significant environmental impact. 

Hydro projects are important for India’s transition to clean energy and meet global targets. But, keeping in mind the environmental impact is important. There are several PSP projects approved in Maharashtra and other Southern states. This is one of the energy storage methods but has a significant environmental impact. Hence, copy-pasting information, and paragraphs will not assist in India’s fight against climate change. The process should be followed to bring confidence in the public about the project, and how to mitigate the environmental impacts.

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