GoM likely to discuss environment hurdles in Orissa UMPP

GoM likely to discuss environment hurdles in Orissa UMPP

New Delhi: The environment hurdles looming on the 4,000 MW ultra mega power project at Orissa are likely to be taken up in the inter-ministerial meeting for giving speedy clearance to plants and associated coal blocks to be held on 2 July 2011.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) was constituted in February 2011 to grant clearances to the power projects which were stuck due to lack of environment and forest clearances.

“The meeting on 2 July may also take up the matter of Orissa UMPP as there is still no clarity on the matter," a senior Power Ministry official said.

The panel was set up in February to sort out the differences between ministries on the environmental norms affecting projects especially in the coal sector. The GoM has met three times in the past and all the meetings were inconclusive.

In the recent meeting of the GoM it was decided that the entire data on pending as well as upcoming projects (related to coal) and expected production from these projects would be gathered.

Power Ministry is banking big on the meeting as a lot of projects have been stranded due to environment issues and therefore the government may find it difficult to meet its 62,000 MW capacity addition target for the XIth Plan Period (2007-12).

However, after the last meeting, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is part of the 12-member GoM, expressed optimism that issues related to coal would be resolved.

Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) categorised 203 coal blocks as ‘no go´ mining zones. The output from these 203 blocks can generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum as per the estimates of the Coal Ministry.

The 4,000 MW UMPP at Bedabahal in Orissa is the fifth such project for which the Power Finance Corp ,a nodal agency for UMPPs in the country, has invited initial bids.

So far, four UMPPs have been allotted to the successful bidders Sasan (Madhya Pradesh), Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Tilaiya (Jharkhand) to Reliance Power and Mundra (Gujarat) to Tata Power.