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.