Friday, Aug 08, 2003
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By S. Ramu
The updated capital cost and recurring cost (per annum) for the environmental facilities for the proposed project works out to Rs.65.77 crores and Rs.15.16 crores respectively. The calculation is based on prices prevailing during the third quarter of 2002. It may be pertinent to recall that the total project cost has been estimated at Rs.440 crores. According to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Plan, the key document that covers each and every aspect related to the project, Rs.7 crores would be spent to control water pollution per annum. While Rs.5 crores was allocated for the management of solid waste, Rs.3 crores would be spent to control air pollution.
Only Rs.1 lakh would be given to control the noise pollution while Rs.5 lakhs each would be spent on environment monitoring and management and occupational health.
Taking cue from the amount allocated to "meet the cost of environmental protection measures,'' the anti-project activists sought to know as to why huge amount was earmarked if there could be no hazardous impact by uranium extraction.
`Adverse impacts', however, outnumbered the `beneficial impact' in the Impact Identification Matrix, incorporated in the report under the sub-title, Impact Identification. "At the ore processing plant, the mined ore will be crushed, leached with acid and uranium extracted as yellow cake through complex chemical process. These activities may affect the environment in varying degrees by generating dust during ore crushing, discharge of effluents, disposal of tailings/slime, etc.''
The report also confessed that allied operations such as transportation of materials, operations at the workshop, garage and canteen also affected the air and noise environment. The report, prepared by the Mecon Limited, an ISO 9001 company, further said: "Some of the impact identified in various phases are insignificant and do not warrant much attention whereas some others are very important, especially with respect to the present project.''
The report has a special mention about the "persisting impact in the post-operational phase'' of the project, according to which there is all likelihood of increased transport facilities and industrial and associated development. "These will have beneficial impact on socio-economic environment but adverse impact on the ecology and the physical environment.''
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