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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

NCCP to generate power in Nellore

Santosh Patnaik

Speculation on the company plan for Sompeta project

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Nagarjuna Construction Company Power Project (NCCP) picking up 55 per cent equity in Nelcast Energy Corporation's 1320 MW power project in Nellore has sparked off speculation that the company had dropped its plan to go ahead with its controversial project at Sompeta.

NCCP belonging to Nagarjuna Group has bought 55 per cent equity in Nelcast's super critical coal-fired power plant at Painampuram village in Muthukur mandal of Nellore district. Gayatri group has the remaining 45 per cent stake.

There is no official announcement on either shelving of Sompeta project or its shifting to Nellore.

Krishna Murthy, president of the Paryavarana Parirakshana Samithi, who is spearheading an agitation against the power plant due its location in swamp land and threat to the environment and livelihood, told The Hindu on Thursday that in the absence of a categorical announcement, their agitation against the project would continue. The agitation by the people of the area has already completed 14 months. “There is no response yet from the government. There is not even an appeal to us to call off the relay hunger strike,” he pointed out.

Coal linkage

Nelcast had received the environmental clearance on September 30, 2010 for the Nellore project. It had plans to bring imported coal to Krishnapatnam port through a conveyer belt. The total project cost is put at Rs.7,000 crores and land acquisition is already over. NCCL has reportedly sought shifting of all its clearances for the 1320 MW super critical thermal plant proposed at Sompeta in Srikakulam district to its Nellore project. The National Environment Appellate Authority had quashed the environmental clearance accorded to NCCL's Sompeta project following protest over its location in wetlands. Later experts' committee set up by Union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh found fault with the officials for giving wrong information on location of the project in wetlands.

E.A.S. Sarma, founder of Forum for Better Visakha and former IAS officer, said the Nellore project was also a big fraud as the new project components were trying to use the environmental clearance accorded earlier by changing coal linkage. Following the forum's petition, the Ministry issued a notice to Nelcast. The original approval was for 100 per cent imported coal from Indonesia. Now the project promoters want to source coal from within the country.

Mr. Sarma said either way the project was a threat to the environment and livelihood of locals as imported coal would contain more sulphur and domestic coal more concentration of toxic ash.

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