Public Hearing on the proposed 2×500 MW Coal Based Power Plant

 by M/s. PEL Power Ltd took place on 28.10.2009 at                           

Keezhaprumballam Village, Sirkali Taluk, Nagapattinam Dt. But I had mailed to the The Collector of Nagapattinam District on  23.09.2009 itself when earliar hearing was slated but cancelled in eleventh hour.

Respected Collector

 Subject: Historical and Environmental reasons cited to oppose the proposed Thermal Power plant regarding

 We appreciate the District Collector of Nagapattinam for calling for this public enquiry. Our views will be in Tamil’s historical interest and the traditional rights of indigenous communities like fishermen and farmers of Tamilnadu.

Pichavaram to Kodikarai is highly important area for unearthing our civilization since ancient harbours existed in this belt with hidden heritage at sea. It needs to be subjected to researches   highly important for marine archaeology and coastal archaeology.

Already 250 km out of 1076 km of Tamilnadu coast is without fishermen. The need for preserving the catamaran people and their traditional knowledge is important. Hence all development projects must aim at protecting indigenous communities like fishermen and farmers and should not uproot them from where for centuries they made a livelihood. In fact more assistance to these communities with new scientific equipments would enable them to earn more foreign exchange to our country’s coffers than offering soaps at the cost of public exchequer to projects of plunder. Generating alternative renewable energy like ocean thermal energy, ocean tidal energy will be more helpful. Developed countries have bid adieu to thermal power. Coal bearing ships and conveyer arrangement will be hazard for the coastal area and will stimulate global warming through carbon discharge. The waste generated from plant will create pollution at sea .Thoothukudi lost its pearl culture of the past cultural heritage by the non ocean oriented people. Bearing these in mind we urge the Government of Tamilnadu to stall all thermal power projects coming up in Nagapattinam District, more particularly the one near Poompuhar.

▼ We all are aware that apart from the Indus Valley excavations, equally important cities of our ancient civilization could not so far be unearthed in South India due to our own lethargy. We have stone inscriptions, copper plates and burial pots and this is not sufficient to establish the greatness of our past. Our literary evidences on submergence of ancient Tamil land illuminate us about our past but western scholars look for more scientific proof. Hence there is a need for undersea-archaeological search to find out our roots. No other ethnic group of Earth possesses so much literary evidences but remains lazy to go to the submerged cities of their ancient land. Though we have a place named as Poompuhar where Dr.Kalaignar M.Karunanithi during his rule erected monuments to recapture the past, it could only serve as tourist spot and could not satiate a researcher’s quest to unravel a hidden city of our ancient civilization beneath the bowels of our sea in Bay of Bengal. We all know about the changes that continuously occur and the ancient Port City of Chozha Empire is not the Poompuhar of our times, but it is within the sea nearer or far to current Poompuhar’s coast.

▼ Graham Hancock wrote many books out of which Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization by Crown Publishers, New York 2002 containing 760 pages ISBN 1400046122 hardback priced $ 27.50 is of relevance to our Poompuhar. He undertook marine archaeology in 2002 and brought out as reported in Dinamani that a city with 9500 year old civilization remains hidden off coast of Poompuhar. [Dinamani news clipping enclosed] His earlier books Fingerprints of the Gods and Heaven’s Mirror had mentioned about his findings. But in this latest book, he lays out evidence “based on modern scientific research, comparative mythology, religious and spiritual observances, first hand diving exploration of underwater megalithic structures and ancient maps to demonstrate the likelihood that a technically advanced civilization unrecognized by modern science capable of navigating the globe and with a profound understanding of architecture and building existed and was washed out by global flooding”.

▼Inundation maps created by Dr.Glen Milne of Durham University shows vast tracts of mostly coastal land which were submerged by three waves of cataclysmic flooding between 17,000 and 8000 years ago. Nearly 5 percent of Earth’s surface or 25 million square kilometers of land stands submerged. These maps and other sources made Graham Hancock to set his foot in Tamilnadu. Graham Hancock used scuba diving and found many artifacts and evidences roughly 2000 pieces which he displayed in Bangalore exhibition, as per media reports of the day. Graham Hancock had updated Tamil history to 9500 years old.

▼We like parrots were repeating 2000 years as time limit of our ancient civilization, and when Graham Hancock updated Tamil history with fresh facts, the Government of Tamilnadu which is going to celebrate World Tamil Conference, must take pains to employ more scuba divers and marine archaeologists to find out about our Kaveripoompattinam. We should honour Graham Hancock in that Conference.

▼The coast or sea near Poompuhar should not be plundered and kept free from industrialization if our ancient glory brought out powerfully by Dr.Kalaignar had to be proven scientifically. Mr.Graham Hancock investigated about our “Kumari Kandam, an anti-diluvia civilization said to have existed thousands of years ago around South India. It is believed to have been a greater center of learning with magnificent academies which may have left a legacy of cartographic and astronomical knowledge which exists today in the ancient Indian texts. Interestingly the author spoke to local fishermen who described often diving to free their nets caught on underwater temples and columns, pyramidal pagodas and buildings with doorways”.

▼Coinciding to our Poompuhar, in Gulf of Cambay to city which is 7500 years old was found but media highlighted that and did not do justice to Poompuhar’s findings. If a scientist within few weeks with the help of National Institute of Oceanography could bring out so many artifacts, is it not the duty of Tamilnadu Chief Minister Dr.Kalaignar M.Karunanithi who instilled in our hearts the greatness of Poompuhar by his powerful pen to employ all scientists, marine archaeologists, scuba divers, and constitute a multi disciplinary State-Sponsored Task Force under Anna University and Tamil University of Thanjavur to explore our exclusive economic zone and our territorial waters in Bay of Bengal at least to begin with to pick up the thread from where Mr. Graham Hancock left in 2002.

▼▼ Dravida Peravai hence appeals to the District Collector of Nagapattinam in the public hearing on Public Hearing on the proposed 2×500 MW Coal Based Power Plant by M/s. PEL Power Ltd to stop this power project.  Allowing such plants to be set up here with whatever technology will disrupt the scientific and historical research that is needed to unearth our past beneath Bay of Bengal off Poompuhar. We are enclosing a map which shows how much land near our coast had been submerged.

This is an indication of how much more land would have been submerged for centuries running into thousands of years back. My article Save the Coast in New Indian Express is enclosed.Letting out effluents or dumping waste into rivers and seas had been going on unabated though technically they will promise to use clean technology and blinded by that promise our environmental agencies will give them clearance. First of all we should bear in mind what all technology we get is outmoded and unwanted in developed countries, hence such technologies are dumped on developing countries like India. If we are really a super power we should follow the Swedish precedent to completely abandon thermal power projects to save its environment. Here it is not only to save our environment but also to prove to the world we are an ancient civilization, we need to keep Poompuhar coast and seas close to Poompuhar free from industrial garbage and litter.

▼Coal based power projects are being set up in Tamilnadu coast. There seems to be a policy which permits setting up of power plants near coal mines, so that through National Power grid equivalant quantum of power can reach the power seeking State. Under this policy a current Union Minister of State before he came to power got a Coal Block allotted in Orissa.In this project of a Tamilnadu politician Puducherry Government’s PIPDIC is a partner. This joint venture plans to set up power project in Orissa to generate power and pass on to the grid so that Puducherry Government will get power without polluting the Union Territory of Puducherry. If a tiny state like Puducherry could follow this route, what compulsion prevails for Tamilnadu to bring coal all the way by ships to set up a power plant in the Nagapattinam coast that too near ancient Port city of Poompuhar?

▼ There seems to be a race to set up more and more ports without planning what products could be brought in or exported from these ports. The Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he visited Kanyakumari announced a scheme called Sagar Mala, which means Garland of the Seas. In fact I mooted the suggestion to create a National Seaway on the lines of National Highways to introduce ship connectivity to all the 138 minor or intermediary ports to bring inland cargo that was coming by Lorries and to ferry passengers. This suggestion through Planning Commission reached then Prime Minister who wanted to make use of existing infrastructure to connect all ports in Indian coast. At that time only Gujarat particularly Gujarat Maritime Board was making good use of its minor ports. Tamilnadu which launched a Poompuhar Shipping Corporation under DMK rule lost the race by making its vessels ferry coal and did not think of diverting cargo and passengers from road use to sea lanes. Roads could be re-laid year by year but traffic congestion, loss of lives, making more and more lanes, land acquisition etc could be avoided if our existing ports could be connected under the Sagar mala scheme of Vajpayee. Instead opening new ports with no cargo to handle breeds even sand smuggling to Maldives which was caught red handed by you, the Hon’ble Collector. Hence we Dravida Peravai, a splinter of DMK but with great regard for Dr.Kalaignar in view of personal friendship undiminished by parting of ways, urge Nagapattinam to accord to priority to unearth our ancient city of Kaveripoompattinam and keep this coast free from polluting industrialization.

▼Interestingly the National Institute of Oceanography , Chennai had announced that its scientists in collaboration with Experimental Design Bureau of Oceanological Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences  had developed a vehicle named ROSUB 6000 capable of exploring the ocean up to a depth of 6 kilometers and can be remotely operated. Though we have to go further deep not only off the coast of Poompuhar but also even beyond our exclusive economic zone, this vehicle could be used to gather further evidences on our submerged Port City of Poompuhar.

 ▼International Seabed Authority has allocated 150,000 square kilometers of seabed in the Indian Ocean to India for exploration of cobalt, manganese, nickel and copper which are in the form of polymetalic nodules. Well Government of India will be happily exploring Indian Ocean for minerals and metals but let Government of Tamilnadu explore Indian Ocean to discover the lost continent of Kumari and the Port Cities of Chera, Chozha and Pandyas, including the ancient capitals of Thonmadurai and Kavadapuram which our literature speaks.

 With Regards Yours sincerely

 N.Nandhivarman  General Secretary Dravida Peravai