The public hearing on the proposed 4000-MW thermal plant of the NTPC at Pudimadaka village in Visakhapatnam district to be held at the village on Wednesday should be stopped and in fact the project should be scrapped, the Human Rights Forum has demanded.

In a press release issued here on Tuesday, HRF state General Secretary V S Krishna and district president M Sarat said already the NTPC had established a 2000-MW plant (NTPC Simhadri) in the area and it was contemplating to enhance it by 1,000 MW more. Further, the Pudimadaka plant would have capacity of 4,000 MW, consuming more than 13 million tonnes of coal per annum, and "therefore the people of the area and the natural resources will be under tremendous strain. Generating 7,000 MW of thermal power in one area is a sure recipe for human and ecological disaster."

They said the people of the area were suffering from not only toxic pollutants being released by the NTPC-Simhadri, they had to contend with the toxic effluents being released by the Jawahar Pharma City at Parawada. "The marine resources are getting destroyed and the livelihood of fishermen is affected. The public health is being ruined and therefore we demand that the project be scrapped," they said.

The district unit of the CPM party also urged the district collector to stop the public hearing, citing the same reasons. Ch. Narasinga Rao, the CPM leader, said the huge amount of ash would play havoc with public health in the area. In the environment impact assessment report, pollution control measures were not clearly mentioned.