CCI to join forces with defence min to fast-track stuck projects

Written by Subhash Narayan | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 9 2013, 17:31pm hrs
The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) will once again come together with the defence ministry to fast-track clearances for infrastructure projects stuck for the last several years. Two private sector power projects Attunli Hydro and Etalin Hydro in Arunachal Pradesh, with a total capacity of 4,000 MW, will be taken up by CCI in its next meeting later this month.

These two are among the many power projects involving total investments of close to R1 lakh crore to be considered by CCI. Power projects awaiting defence clearance are being taken up by CCI for the first time. It has earlier cleared some oil and gas projects where exploration activity could not take off due to objections from the defence ministry.

Apart from these two projects, CCI will consider three projects of Hinduja Power, Universal Cresent and Adhunik Power, which have been delayed due to environmental clearances. In all, the clearances will fructify into 7, 347 MW of capacity, involving investments of about R44,622 crore .

CCI is also likely to consider and direct Coal India to allocate coal to six power projects that have already been commissioned, or are at advanced stages of commissioning but have not got any coal linkages. These projects have a total capacity of 8,240 MW, involving investments of R43, 671 crore.

The coordinated approach of the CCI and the project monitoring group (PMG) in the Cabinet Secretariat is bringing definite changes to the way clearances are given to key infrastructure projects. Five more cases, out of the list of 40 given by the power ministry, may now be taken up by CCI as the PMG is unable to secure a nod at its end, said a government official privy to the developments.

With regard to defence clearance, the 680-MW Attunli Hydro Electric Project and the 3,097-MW Etalin Hydro Electric project are both greenfield projects located in Arunachal Pradesh and close to the Chinese (Tibetan) border. The clearances have been pending since 2011, even though a joint survey of the projects has been completed and reports signed last year. In case of Attunli, clearance from the home ministry has also been pending since early this year.

As far as the issue of delays due to pending clearances from the forest ministry is concerned, Hinduja National Power Corporations project in Vizag district of Andhra Pradesh has been delayed since coastal regulation zone clearance is awaited from MoEF. The ministry had sought compliance with certain conditions, which the company has fulfilled but MoEF wants clarity over violation of CRZ regulations and a commitment to adhere to them in future. For Adhunik Powers project in Jharkhand, stage I forest clearance is pending for the Ganeshpur coal block attached to the project.

MoEF wants certain conditions to be fulfilled to complete the process which, the company claims, it has complied with. As with the Sagar super thermal power project, environmental and CRZ clearances are pending with MoEF. While the West Bengal government has sent its report to MoEF on some of the queries raised, the project is yet to be given green nod.

In addition to these, CCI is also likely to consider fuel linkages for six power projects Lalitpur Power Generation Company, Adani Power Rajasthan, Adani Power Maharastra, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy, Essar Power MP and Monnet Power (Angul Orissa project) that are without any coal linkages. That would be on the lines of the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), which said that CIL could consider allocation of coal to 4,660 MW capacity of unlinked power projects but only after meeting the needs of 78,000 MW of capacity, with which it has to sign fuel supply agreements (FSAs).