Chennai, Feb 27 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government’s decision to have the state electricity board implement the 1,600 MW power project at Udangudi in Tuticorin district may not necessitate another environment impact assessment (EIA) and public hearing, said industry officials.
Senior industry officials told IANS that the Udangudi power project may not require fresh EIA and public hearing just because the source of coal — imported as against the earlier plan of domestic coal — is sought to be changed and the project is to be implemented by another organisation.
“A fresh EIA and public hearing is required if there is a change in coal source, equipment specifications (changes in capacity, technology) and project site. A change in shareholders does not warrant a fresh EIA and public hearing,” a senior industry official not wanting to be named told IANS.
According to him if the coal is of superior quality (imported coal is of better quality than Indian coal) than what was planned earlier then permission from the expert committee in the Ministry of Environment and Forests is sufficient.
There may not be any change in the project location as the land title for the project is still in the process of being registered in the name of Udangudi Power Corporation.
However, tying a mega power project to the vagaries of imported coal is a risk due to pricing and supply issues, power sector analysts told IANS.
Udangudi Power is a joint venture between Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) formed to implement the power project.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa took the industry by surprise announcing the cancellation of the joint venture between TNEB and BHEL, citing lack of progress in the Rs.8,000 crore Udangudi power project.
The state government would fully fund the project, she said, adding that it would be executed by TNEB as a state project with imported coal as it is yet to get the domestic coal linkage and environmental clearance. The public hearing after preparing the EIA was held in 2009.
Meanwhile, the new development will be discussed at the next board meeting of Udangudi Power slated sometime in March, officials told IANS.