Adani Power gets plant expansion approval after 6-year delay

The final approval from the MoEF comes with 17 conditions which Adani Power will need to comply with.


Adani Power was looking for suitable land for sometime, in order to expand their existing 3,300 MW power plant in Tiroda. They eventually they zeroed in on land located in Gorada, Mendipur, Kachewani and Khairbadi villages, totalling 148.59 hectares.


The Collector of Gondia issued a certificate, on 14th June 2008, saying that "(since) no alternative non-forest land" was available, suitable for a thermal plant, this lot has been made available to Adani Power for this expansion.


It took another three years before the Forest Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) granted the project "in principle" approval on 9th December 2011. Almost a year later, the State government submitted its first compliance report to the MoEF, on 30th May 2012. Another report followed one year later on 25th September 2012. Ultimately, the final compliance statement was issued yet another two years later on 16th July 2014.


This was not the end even though final permission was given by the MoEF on 29th August, 2014. Seventeen conditions were to be met by the Adani Power. On 20th October 2014, the NDA government issued the order to set aside land for development of the power plant.


Adani Power reportedly paid the present value of the land immediately and also the required sum of money to the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority, so that they could take appropriate action for the compensatory afforestation procedure.


Among the 17 conditions stipulated, possibly the most important one mandates, "proper mitigative measures to minimise the soil erosion and choking of streams," besides ensuring the development of green belt along the power station and water channels located in the plant.


The environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, has been assuring the public that the MoEF will not be a stumbling block, but in fact, would do everything it can to expeditiously handle all such clearance matters. The MoEF is already said to be working on unified procedures for making such clearance formalities easier to comply with. It would be ideal if a standardized national policy on environmental clearances is prepared and announced, making a suitable provision for small variations that may became necessary due to geographical factors affecting a given area. Such long delays, of six years or more, should not become a regular feature if we want to make the 'Make in India' campaign successful.


All investors, whether they were domestic or foreigners, need power, and this should be made easily available. This can only happen when all matters which relate to "clearances", "land-lease" agreements and other "approvals" from local state bodies are made simpler and easier to comply with.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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