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Hope for two power projects

The cabinet committee on investment (CCI) — set up to fast-track projects — is likely to take up this week two stalled power projects with investments worth Rs 35,000 crore.

NHPC’s Dibang and Reliance Power’s Tilaiya projects have been stuck because of environmental hurdles, and the power ministry has sought the CCI’s intervention.

The 3,000 megawatt (MW) Dibang hydro project in Arunachal Pradesh has been stalled for a long time in the absence of environment and forest clearances. The estimated cost of the project is over Rs 15,000 crore.

The project was originally scheduled for commission by 2017, but the delay in clearances will push it back by a couple of years and lead to a rise in costs, officials said.

As many as 94 hydro power projects are languishing owing to a tardy progress in granting clearances. Sources said the power ministry might also approach the CCI for other hydel projects.

Once approved, they can generate 37,000MW. Hydro power contributes 39,623MW to the total 2,25,793MW capacity in the country.

The CCI may decide whether private producer Reliance Power’s 4,000MW project at Tilaiya in Jharkhand should be exempted from providing non-forest land to compensate for the acquisition of forest for the project.

At present, only the Centre or public sector undertakings are exempted from the obligation to provide non-forest land.

This is Reliance Power’s third mega project. The company is executing two more projects at Sasan (Madhya Pradesh) and Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). Mega power projects are coal-based plants with at least 4,000MW capacity.

In August, the CCI had cleared 36 projects worth Rs 1.83 lakh crore stalled on account of regulatory hurdles. The projects covered 18 power plants and 18 in sectors such as road, railways, petroleum and natural gas.

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