New Delhi: Nearly three months after it withdrew initial nod, the environment ministry has restored the clearance granted to Jindal Power for its Rs13,000-crore project in Chhattisgarh.
After reviewing the case and details submitted by the project proponent (Jindal Power), the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the environment ministry at a recent meeting has recommended that the project may be appraised by following the original Terms of Reference (ToR), a senior ministry official told PTI.
In June, the environment ministry had revoked the initial clearance or TORs given to Jindal Power, last year, citing the violation of certain green norms.
“The environment ministry had withdrawn the ToR saying that the company cannot construct the power plant in the estimated 62 hectares of land,” the official said. The Ministry, which called the proposed project as “premature”, had also said that the firm has changed the location of the proposed plant.
However, at the EAC meeting, refuting charges, Jindal Power officials contended that the project would come up at 456 hectares of land and also maintained that there is no change in the location of the power plant as alleged by the environment ministry, the official said.
The ministry had also charged the company of starting the construction work for the new power plant at the site and asked the state government to take action against the firm.
The government official added that “the issue of start of construction prior to environment clearance may be de-linked with the issue of restoration of ToR for 4x600 MW in view of Chhattisgarh government filing a suit in a local court on the matter.”
Confirming the development, with the restoration of the TORs, a senior Jindal Power official said that the company can go ahead with the appraisal process such as conducting environment impact assessment study of the project that entails an investment of Rs13,410 crore, of which over Rs10,000 crore debt has been tied up.
The official also said that it had already placed order with Bhel for equipment worth Rs765 crore. Coal linkages has been approved for the first two units of the 2400 MW plant.
The company is targeting to commission two units of 600 MW each out of the proposed 2400 MW before March 2012.
Jindal Power, which is gearing up to launch an initial public offering later this year, has planned an investment of Rs65,000 crore in the next 10 years for increasing its power production capacity. It currently runs a 1,000 MW power project in Chhattisgarh.