Power plant's ash slurry contaminates Godavari water

Deccan Chronicle.  | Ravindra Seshu

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The fish and other aqua life in the river are vanishing due to the presence of ash slurry of Bhadradri Thermal Power Station (BTPS). — DC Image/Representational

KOTHAGUDEM: The waters of River Godavari are being contaminated in a big way due to the merger of fly ash slurry from the Bhadradri Thermal Power Station (BTPS). This is not only a problem to farmers of Manuguru mandal but also to the two mega drinking water schemes like Mission Bhagiratha and Singareni Collieries (SCCL).

The fish and other aqua life in the river are vanishing due to the presence of ash slurry of BTPS that has a capacity of 4x270mw. Nearly 6,000 tonnes fly-ash is created out of the BTPS per day and the officials dispose of 1000 tonnes. The remaining 500 tonnes of ash slurry is sent into the Godavari river through Maddivagu rivulet.

Environmentalists noted that the BTPS should have two ash ponds to leave the ash emerging from the coal burning process to produce thermal power. The BTPS had completed only one ash pond and allowed the rest of the fly-ash to go into the Maddivagu.

This discharge joins Godavari at Chikkudugunta village. The place is 1km away from SCCL’s intake well and 2km to the Mission Bhagiratha intake well.

SCCL is supplying drinking water to its residential quarters and half of the colonies of Manuguru town as part of its CSR endeavour. The ash water is flowing along with the Godavari water and entering into its water schemes.

Mission Bhagiratha supplies drinking water to nearly 600 habitations in Bhadradri district.

Alarmingly, SCCL manager Venkateswara Reddy wrote a letter to BTPS chief engineer B Bichanna on the contamination of Godavari waters and this posing a health problem from the drinking water supplied to the town. Bichanna, in his response, said, “The second ash pond is being built on a war-footing and the problem will be solved after its completion.”

Farmers lifting Godavari water to raise crops like paddy and chilli are complaining that the ash water is spoiling their lands. There exist 150 motors in Chikkudugunda, Ramanujavaram, Sambaigudem, Kaikondaigudem and Dammakkapet in Manuguru mandal, lifting water from Godavari and supplying to their fields.

Dachepalli Kalpana, a woman farmer from Kaikondaigudem, said, “We found fly ash covering the surface of our fields. This spoils the soil. We are requesting BTPS to stop discharging the ash slurry into the waters.”

J Koteswara Rao, a fisherman in Chikkudugunta, said, “Fishes are seen dead and floating on the waters due to the ash water. Without getting fish from the river, our life in these villages will be miserable.”

J Sitaramaraju, resident of Sambaigudem, said, “The paddy plants are turning into ash colour because of this. The BTPS continues contaminating Godavari, the perennial river.”

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