Thursday, January 14, 2010

35,700 Mw power projects for green nod

Environment panel to look into green nod for power projects
Environment panel to look into green nod for power projects
Sanjay Jog / Mumbai January 11, 2010, 0:35 IST

In a bid to give a big push for the development of coal- and gas-based power projects in the country, the expert appraisal committee (EAC) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) will take up proposals for terms of reference and environment clearances for 31 projects with a total generation capacity of 35,700 Mw.

The committee is scheduled to meet on January 11 and 12, for the first time this year, where it will discuss projects ranging from a minimum generation capacity of 54 Mw to the ultra mega power projects of 4,000 Mw. The committee would also consider a terms of reference for 60.9 Mw non-fossil fuel-based power plant by Seksaria Biswan Sugar Factory in Uttar Pradesh.

“The ministry, headed by Jairam Ramesh, is bringing a lot of transparency for providing environment and forest clearances expeditiously to power, mining, industrial, coal and other infrastructure projects. The ministry is also aware of the long time taken in these clearances. The issue has been take up by ministries of power and coal in particular,” informed sources told Business Standard.

Sources recalled that at a meeting convened by the power ministry on November 15 last year, various states had sought the ministry’s intervention for environment and forest clearances without inordinate delays. Besides, the coal ministry and the country’s largest coal producer, Coal India Ltd, had brought to the Centre’s notice that it takes two to four years to get environment and forest clearances for coal mining projects. EAC, in its communication to project developers, clarified that it would consider the proposal for environment clearance subject to confirmation of fuel and water linkage.

Some of the major projects to be considered by EAC include the 4,000-Mw ultra mega power project by Tatiya Andhra Mega Power Ltd, 2,640-Mw Bhavanapadu Thermal Power Project by East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd (both in Andhra Pradesh), four thermal projects of 300 Mw each by JSW Energy at Jaigad near Ratnagiri for review of environment clearance, and four thermal power projects of 800 Mw each by JSW Energy at Chiefari near Ratnagiri (both in Maharashtra) for terms of reference.

A large number of mango and cashew nut growers from Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra and non-government organisations have raised objections against these projects. A committee of MoEF had recently visited the project sites to get a first-hand information.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hold the Public hearings in seriousness- Court to MoEF & GSPCB

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Hold GSPCB hearings seriously: Delhi HC

PANAJI: The Goa State Pollution Control Coard’s six simultaneous public hearings on five different mines at Sanguem in 2007, has led the Delhi high court to ask the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to take corrective steps and hold the hearings in seriousness.

NGO Utkarsh Mandal had approached the court and sought the quashing of an order issued by the MoEF in 2007 granting environment clearance to Panduranga Timblo Industries (PTI) for renewal of its mining lease at Rivona. During the hearing the scheduling of public hearings by GPSCB in respect of five mines (including that of PTI) on January 31, 2007 at 11 am at Vithal Devasthan at Sanguem came under the court’s scrutiny.

While setting aside the order passed by MoEF granting the environmental clearance to PTI, a division bench comprising chief justice Ajit Prakash Shah and justice S Murlidhar observed, “We find from the notice of the public hearing in the present case that as many as six public hearings were scheduled in regard to the projects (including PTI) by GPSCB on the same date and time and at the same venue.” The court also noted that it is a matter of concern that the requirement of public hearing under the EIA notification has been taken so lightly by the MoEF. “We expect the MoEF to immediately issue necessary instructions in this regard so that public hearings in terms of the EIA (environment impact assessment) notification dated 14th September 2006 take place with the seriousness which they deserve.”

Hanakon thermal power plant project shelved

Hanakon thermal power plant project shelved
The Hindu - Correspondent
  • Activists opposing the project and IBTPL hold press meet
  • Ind-Bharath Thermal Power Company Limited was supposed to set up the thermal power plant
  • Company and protesting activists to withdraw cases each had filed against the other
Karwar: Ind-Bharath Thermal Power Company Limited (IBTPL) which had proposed to set up a thermal power plant at Hanakon near Karwar has decided not to go ahead with the project following opposition from environment activists and the general public.
A joint press conference was held here on Friday by Executive Director of the IBTPL Vasurao and members of the Anti-Thermal Power Plant Samiti Satish Sail, Kishore Desai and K.D. Naik.
The decision of IBTPL and the samiti has come as a surprise to many. The samiti members hurriedly called the press conference and declared that they would withdraw all the criminal cases of forgery and cheating that they had filed against IBTPL. Mr. Vasurao said that IBTPL would withdraw the cases filed against the samiti members. The samiti leaders who had been accusing the company all along for using money and muscle power to curb the agitation against the proposed thermal power plant, lauded IBTPL for deciding against the project. Samiti leaders and Mr. Vasurao said that there was a misunderstanding and communication gap because of which there were problems.
Blaming the forest officials for providing the wrong information about the distance between Hanakon and Curtogoa Wildlife Sanctuary, Mr. Vasurao said that IBTPL relied on their report and went ahead with the project. He said IBTPL had no role in the atrocity committed by the police on the agitators on July 30, and said the guilty should be punished.
Asked whether it was a “give and take arrangement” between IBTPL and the few leaders of the samiti, Mr. Vasurao said there was nothing murky in the whole deal and it was done purely in the interests of the people of Karwar. The samiti offered full cooperation to IBTPL if it sets up an “eco-friendly” industry.
Mr. Vasurao said IBTPL would chalk out an alternative plan to develop the land it had purchased in Hanakon. Later, the samiti leaders and Mr. Vasurao went to the Deputy Commissioner’s office and signed an agreement with regard to the decision not to set up thermal power plant in Hanakon.
The sudden decision of some of the leaders of the samiti has created resentment among the other leaders who stayed away from the press meet. Some leaders who were imprisoned in Bellary Central Jail during the agitation were found arguing outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office with those who signed the pact with IBTPL without informing others.
A committee member, seeking anonymity, said that some leaders who were out to take the political mileage out of the agitation had called the press meet without knowledge of others. He said only the leaders from the Congress party were present and other leaders belonging to different other parties were informed in the last minute deliberately so as to keep them away from the press conference.
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