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Hanakon Thermal Power Project, Karnataka, India


Ind-Bharath Thermal Power Company Limited (IBTPL) had proposed to set up a thermal power plant at Hanakon near Karwar [1]. Before the start of project work, it faced stiff opposition form the local as well as environmentalists. Opposition to the project is building up as residents and environmentalists feel that it will destroy the biodiversity in the region as it is sought to be located in the Western Ghats. The Anshi National Park in Karnataka and the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary on Goas south eastern border are within 25 km of the project [4] Looking at the stiff opposition from the people, a three-member committee had been formed constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to judge the situation. The committee had raised objection to the permission granted to the Hanakon thermal power project. According to the committee, the thermal power company, in its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, had said while seeking permission for the project that there was no national park, wildlife sanctuary within the 7 km periphery of the project site. The committee pointed out in the report that Cotigoa Wildlife Sanctuary of Goa was within 5 km radius of the project site. The committee report quoted the letter of the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Division, Dandeli, Uttara Kannada District, that the proposed project site is located at a distance of about 10 km from Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve. The committee said that the site identified was not sufficient for the proposed project. The report also pointed out that the cement plants to which ash was proposed to be supplied were either not functional or were too far off to be transported. And, if the ash was proposed to be disposed off in Kali river, that was objected to by the locals. Besides, if the project was given a go-ahead, then the fishing community would lose their means of livelihood and mangroves would be destroyed. The report cited a rule that no cooling water discharge shall be permitted into estuaries or near ecologically sensitive areas such as mangroves, spawning and breeding grounds of aquatic fauna and flora [2, 3] A huge protest rally was taken out in Karwar in July 2009, against the proposed thermal power station. Thousands of people participated in the rally and submitted a memorandum to the district administration urging them to stop the thermal project. Leaders of different political parties and the social organizations were present during the protest rally [5].

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hanakon Thermal Power Project, Karnataka, India
State or province:Karnataka
Location of conflict:Village - Hankon; Taluka - Karwar; District- Uttar Kannada
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Wetlands and coastal zone management
Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Hanakon Thermal Power Project was a 450 megawatt coal-fired power station that was proposed by Ind Bharat Power (Karwar) Ltd. to be constructed near the village of Hankon of Karwar Taluka of Uttar Kannada District in Karnataka, India.

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Ind-Barath Thermal Power Limited from India -
Ind-Barath Power Infra Limited (IBPIL) from India -
Relevant government actors:Government of Karnataka, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Forest Ministry of Goa, Karnataka Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Anti-Thermal Power Plant Samiti, The members of the city municipal council (CMC) of Karwar, Goas forest ministry, Congress Party of Karnataka (Karnataka Pradesh Congress president R V Deshpande ), Former MP Margaret Alva
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Goa s forest ministry has agreed to pledge support to the Karwar locals in opposing the setting up of the Hanakon thermal power plant in an ecologically sensitive area near Karwar if it also means ramifications for the state [4]
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:The appellate tribunal of Union ministry of environment and forest (before the Green National Tribunal formally established) had ordered a stay on the construction activity of Ind-Bharath thermal power company at the project site at Hanakon [6]
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:Oppositors stated: Instead of the thermal power project medical college, hi-tech hospitals and resorts which are environment friendly ventures will be taken up in the region. There is also an ample opportunity to establish a software park there. We are not against development but are opposed to any project that is harmful to the environment in the district. Let IBPL establish environment-friendly ventures here. All cases except those of atrocities in Hanakon will be withdrawn. [8]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Three-member committee visited the proposed thermal power project site on August 1, 2009. Committee submits report to Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The report says impact assessment study should be conducted for getting environmental clearance. The committee pointed out that while giving go-ahead for the project, it was not kept in mind that the identified site falls in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). In conclusion, the committee said in the report that for environmental clearance of the thermal power plant project in Hanakon, it is necessary to carry out a comprehensive impact assessment study taking into consideration the apprehension of the fishing community, geographical features of the area, ecological sensitivity of the area and proximity of Karwar city to the project site [2].
The proposed 450-MW coal-based Hanakon thermal power project in Karwar has been shifted to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu by the Hyderabad-based Ind Bharat Power (Karwar) Ltd [8]
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Land Acquisition rehabilitation and Resettlement act
[click to view]

Coastal Regulatory Zone act
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Hanakon thermal power plant project shelved
[click to view]

[2] Questions raised on Hanakon thermal project
[click to view]

[3] CMC against Hanakon thermal plant
[click to view]

[4] Goa may oppose Hanakon thermal power plant
[click to view]

[5] Protest held against Hanakon thermal project
[click to view]

[7] Hanakon Thermal Power Project
[click to view]

[8] Hanakon plant shifted to Tuticorin
[click to view]

[6] Stay on Hanakon thermal project extended
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update20/07/2014
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