NLC's TN project awaiting eco clearances - ₹66 billion power plant was originally to be commissioned in December 2013
Though the 1,000-MW NLC Tamil Nadu Power project at Tuticorin is ready, statutory clearances are holding it up from becoming operational. The ₹6,600-crore plant was to be originally commissioned last December. The State Government, on earlier occasions, had announced that the project will be commissioned in August 2014.
Neyveli Lignite Corporation, a central public sector enterprise which is promoting the project in partnership with Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, had announced that the 2x500-MW project would be commissioned in October. When contacted in Neyveli Lignite, which holds an 89 per cent stake in the project, acknowledged that the project is awaiting wildlife and forest clearances from the Central Government departments concerned. The state pollution control authorities have also not extended the clearance granted earlier to commence operations pending the establishment of a sewage treatment plant. The previous permit was valid up to June, the official said.
NLC has floated bids for setting up the treatment plant and is confident that once the clearances are obtained the power plant can be commissioned. But he declined to specify a possible date. Industry representatives expressed concern that in a power-starved state like Tamil Nadu where there is a 3,000-4,000-MW shortfall on a demand of about 12,000 MW, a large power project is allowed to idle for months. Tamil Nadu’s share of electricity generated from the project will be close to 400 MW. The NLC official said both the 500 MW units are ready to go on stream within a month of each other. Over 70,000 tonnes of domestic and imported coal have been stocked on site to fuel the units.