CCI may take up NTPC's North Karanpura, 12 coal projects Wednesday

The meeting will also discuss measures to expedite three critical rail projects, according to sources.

New Delhi: The Cabinet in a meeting tomorrow is likely to take up the issue of relocation of NTPC's proposed North Karanpura power project, besides considering clearances to 12 coal mining projects involving Rs 1,347 crore investment.

"The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) may tomorrow take up the issue of relocation of North Karanpura Super Thermal Power plant in Jharkhand, besides restoration of originally agreed coal linkage to set up the power plant by NTPC in the state will also be sought during the meeting," according to a source.

The meeting will also discuss measures to expedite three critical rail projects, according to sources.

"Suitable decisions of CCI are sought for fast-tracking the clearances for these 12 coal mining projects," the source said.

NTPC is setting up a 1,980-MW power plant in the vicinity of Tandwa town in the Chatra district of Jharkhand, which is the first project of NTPC in the state.

The Ministry of Coal withdrew the coal linkages in 2008 and raised issue of relocation of the project.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal constituted a sub-committee in September 2011 under the chairmanship of Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi to look into the issue.

"NTPC requires the restoration of original coal linkage to set up the power plant. The proposal is for restoration of coal linkage for setting up of North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Project (NKSTPP) by NTPC in Jharkhand at the proposed site with safeguards as per recommendation of Chaturvedi Committee and accepted by GoM," the note by power ministry said.

In its note, the Coal Ministry has, however, demanded relocation of the power plant and said: "NTPC has formulated a plan to set up a Super Thermal Power Plant...On the highly potential coal bearing areas of North Karanpura a coalfield in...Jharkhand.

"However, the proposed site for the plant blocks six billion tonnes of coal reserves, besides creating a threat...And posing safety concerns. Ministry of Coal has therefore proposed an alternative site for setting up of the power plant," it said.

The approval of Cabinet is sought for relocation of the site of proposed plant at North Karanpura to alternative site, the Coal Ministry note said, adding that "area near Kanhakala village 15 km North East of Chatra in Chatra district in Jharkhand is suggested."

Elaborating on the projects seeking green clearances, sources said on the basis of joint review by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Coal Ministry, of 12 coal projects, eight have been identified for expediting grant of Environment Clearance (EC), one for grant of stage-II Forest Clearance (FC) and three for grant of stage-I FC.

"The cumulative cost of these 12 projects is Rs 1,347.63 crore and the annual coal production capacity of these projects is 36.97 million tonnes (MT).

"Though these projects are costing less than Rs 1,000 crore individually, expediting the pending EC and FC approvals would help realising an additional production of about seven million tonnes in 2013-14," the source added.

Non receipt of clearances to the mining projects is adversely affecting the production plans of Coal India, the source said.

The CCI may also consider reviewing the progress of implementation of three critical rail projects on a quarterly basis.

The three railways lines, includes Tori-Shivpur-Kathotia (Hazaribagh) BG triple line for the North Karanpura coalfield (CCL Jharkhand) and Jharsuguda-Barpali BG double line for IB Valley coalfield (MCL, Odisha).

These three rail connectivity projects are necessary for coal evacuation from potential coalfields--IB Valley, North Karanpura Mand-Raigarh. These projects are being implemented by railways under various schemes with funds to be provided by coal companies.

These projects are getting delayed mainly on accounts of forest and land acquisition issue, sources said.

Earlier, Coal India, which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic coal production had said that inordinate delays in the receipt of green clearances for mining proposals have stalled the investment decisions on 67 new projects and also affected the expansion work in ongoing projects, translating into an annual production loss of 200 MT.