Air pollution from Ennore Thermal Power Plant has resulted in apartments funded from PMAY remaining vacant for more than 7 years

Ennore Thermal Power Plant Coal

Ms Leena Nandan


Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MEFCC)

Govt of India

Dear Ms Nandan,

Apathy, inaction and ineffectiveness on the part of your Ministry and the State pollution control boards has led to polluting projects proliferating across the country, contaminating air, water and land, polluting the food chain and damaging the people’s health.

I have written numerous letters to you and your predecessors on this, appealing for taking action but your Ministry has remained unresponsive, suggesting that it is in connivance with the culprits. In particular, I had pointed out air and water pollution around the NTR thermal power plant in Vijayawada in AP, where the affected people met me to complain about their health problems caused by the power plant but your Ministry has chosen to take sides with the polluter, rather than safeguarding the interests of the affected people.

Is there any justification for the taxpayer to maintain the large establishment of your Ministry across the country and that of the State pollution control boards, when they have chosen to become onlookers in preference to being regulators, not willing to discharge their statutory responsibilities?
Your Ministry should know that your inaction has not only damaged people’s health but also rendered several flagship schemes initiated by the other Ministries, including healthcare schemes of the Ministry of Health, infructuous and counterproductive. For example, severe air pollution caused by the Ennore thermal power plant in Tamil Nadu has repelled beneficiaries, who were allotted  6,877 flats for economically weaker sections (EWS) in Ennore in 2017 by the then State govt under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Scheme (, rendreing the enormous expenditure incurred by the Centre and the State, all at the cost of the tax payer, totally infructuous. Evidently, those flats have remained vacant for seven years till date and they may soon become uninhabitable as a result of lack of maintenance and deterioration due to disuse.

The Ennore area itself, with its accumulated pollution load, is a standing testimony to the failure of environmental regulation by the Centre and the State.

I hope that the CAG will conduct a special audit of this to inform the Parliament of how inaction by your Ministry has adversely affected public schemes of other Ministries.

Your Ministry has a regulatory role to play in enforcing several environmental laws and could have asked polluting industrial units to stop operations, which it is not willing to do. Why should the public then bear expenditure for maintaining such a huge Ministry with a Cabinet Minister heading it, when it has no adequate justification to continue?

I am marking a copy of this letter to the CAG for taking up an audit to bring this aspect to the notice of the Parliament.

I am circulating a copy of this letter widely to generate a public debate on the role and justification for your Ministry.

I hope that this letter serves as a wake up call to your Ministry and those that head the political executive to make them understand that “business-friendly” policies being pursued by them affecting the health and welfare of the people cut at the very root of a democracy.


yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Government of India


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