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In the backdrop of a serious threat posed to the wildlife ecosystem and protests from environmentalists, Tata Power has decided to change the technology of its proposed 2000 MW power plant at Naraj Marthapur in Cuttack district from coal-based to gas-fired plant.

The project had hit a roadblock owing to its proximity to the Chandaka-Dampada wildlife sanctuary. The plant site was located within a distance of only 1.5 km of the sanctuary and wildlife clearance was mandatory for any project to be located within 10-km radius of a national park or wildlife sanctuary.

Green activists had raised serious concerns over the impact of large scale fly ash generation from the coal-based power plant on the wildlife.
Confirming the development, a Tata Power official said, “We are interested to set up a gas-based power plant and we will be submitting a detailed proposal to the state government within two months. The gas-fired plant will come up at Naraj Marthapur, the site where the company had originally decided to build a coal-based power project. Since we have been allocated the Mandakini coal block for setting up a power project, the state government has said it will facilitate another suitable site in Nayagarh or Kendrapara district. But we prefer to set up the plant close to the site of our allocated coal block.”

G Mathivathanan, secretary (energy) said, “Tata Power will be developing a gas-based power plant instead of a coal-fired plant at Naraj due to the site’s proximity to a wildlife sanctuary. The company will be submitting a detailed plan to Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa Ltd (Ipicol). Besides, Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) will select an alternative location in a coastal district for allowing the company to set up a coal-based plant.”

The change in technology of the proposed power plant (coal-based to gas-fired) has been necessitated by delay in obtaining clearances from the State Wildlife Board and National Wildlife Board, company representatives had recently informed the state officials.

Tata Power’s 2000 MW project was to come up Aon 1000 acres of land.

But with the change in technology, if there is any surplus land after allocating land to the company as per the norms of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for gas-based plants, it will be utilized for setting up of other industrial clusters.

Tata Power had claimed earlier that the land acquisition process was completed and the company had paid Rs 100 crore to Idco towards acquisition cost.

The company had inked an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Orissa government for establishment of a 1000 MW IPP (independent power plant) on September 26, 2006. It had later proposed to scale up capacity of the power plant to 2000 MW.

Source By Business Standard (Date- 31/12/2011 Time-11:52 IST)

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