The controversial project of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) in West Bengal's Bhangar, over which there were clashes recently, is a threat to the ecosystem of fragile wetlands at the site, a body of experts claimed on Thursday.
The Citizens Concerned Over Bhangar (CCOB) -- an environmental and health experts body -- also demanded an investigation into the matter by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
"The power substation should be moved to a different site. The selected spot is part of a productive wetland and the project will not only impact the ecosystem but also will not be stable. The location is not safe for a Power Grid gas-insulated substation project," the citizens' body said.
"We want the NGT to investigate," the CCOB said.
The group comprising environmental experts, scientists, physicians and local health workers visited Bhangar in January to observe and review the ecological and safety concerns raised by the local villagers regarding the project.
The preliminary report was released in the form of a Bengali booklet, tited "High Voltage Bhangar".
A.K. Biswas, an environmental expert with the organisation, said the power company had not submitted any environmental impact assessment report in the public domain yet.
"Agriculture and fisheries at Bhangar not only provide livelihood to farmers and fishermen but also are a vital part of the waste recycling and ecosystem services that extend beyond Bhangar," said Tushar Chakraborty, a scientist with the organisation, adding that the power company must begin a dialogue with the citizens.
Bhangar, known for its history of political violence, was on the boil in January over "forced" acquisition of 16 acres of farmland -- spread over the villages of Khamarait, Machhi Bhanga, Tona and Padmapukur -- by the state government for the Power Grid project.
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