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Andhra Lake Wind Power Project of Enercon India under scrutiny of ecology panel

As Panchabuta had reported in December last year, Andhra Lake Wind Power Project in Pune district has run into rough weather with the Bombay High Court restraining the promoter, Enercon (India) Pvt Ltd, of the 113.6 MW power project from cutting a single tree until further orders. The proposed project, coming up in proximity of Bhimashankar Wild Life Sanctuary in the Western Ghats, requires about 26,600 trees to be cut down.

The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice SJ Kathawala issued the interim order on Thursday following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Khed-based social worker Dr Dattatraya Kale.

This is the second incident in which land being acquired for Wind power projects are facing problems. As Panchabuta had earlier reported, Kerala cabinet had decided a little more than a month back to evict Suzlon from the land that was claimed to be illegally acquired by them and restore the land to tribals at Attapady in Palakkad district.

According to reports, for the project, located at a distance of 3.5 km from the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, illegal tree cutting and blasting is going on, posing a danger to the wildlife of the region.

The project, spread over 14 villages of the Khed and Maval talukas, covering an area of 194.66 hectares of reserve forest land and costing Rs. 772 crore has now come under the scrutiny of the Western Ghat Expert Ecology Panel (WGEEP), which will visit the site in the coming week.

Enercon India Ltd. has been given the permission to cut 26,615 trees but activists Atul Kale and Vishwambar Choudhari allege that more than 3 lakh trees have been cut in the region to construct a 20 km long road along the mountains to reach the windmill site. The report further adds, a visit to the site on March 31 showed that tree cutting and blasting activities are still being carried out. The logs have been dumped in the adjacent region and are proof that the number is more than what was allowed, Mr. Kale says. However, The Hindu could not independently verify the number of tress cut as claimed by activists.

It seems like the problems for Enercon India  is never-ending. Most recently, there was a detailed analysis of the dispute between Enercon Germany and Enercon India by The New York Times. The New York Times further mentiones that  the Indian subsidiary has not responded or commented on any of the complaints against them made by the Germans.

Further, what was also interesting to note is that almost all of the senior management including Mr. Yogesh Mehra were conspicuous by their absence in the recently held Wind Power India 2011 in Chennai.

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