East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd in the Santhabommali mandal of Srikakulam was the first to storm the ecologically fragile Naupada swamps. Work on its “super-critical technology” plant—the 2,640- MW Bhavanapadu Thermal Power Plant on 2,050 acres—has already commenced, to the chagrin of local farmers, fisherfolk and agitating environment NGOs.
Filling and raising of marshland in the project area is changing the character of the Naupada swamps and causing irreversible ecological damage. Barely three km away from the site is the Telineelapuram bird sanctuary which the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Birdlife International recognise as a globally Important Bird Area (IBA).
In an apparent rush to seek environmental clearance for the East Coast Energy project, AP’s special chief secretary (environment, forests, science and technology) in February 2009 submitted a CRZ (coastal regulatory zone) demarcation report and NOC from the AP government to the Union ministry of forests and environment. The report listed the legal status of quarry land and detailed drainage plan. However, what it conveniently ignored were reports on the ecological value of the wetland and migratory bird breeding in Telineelapuram.