Hydro power players seek simple land acquisition route

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Nov 25 2009, 04:42am hrs
State-run utilities, together with players from the private sector, in a bid to exploit the 1,50,000-mw hydro potential of the country, have unanimously demanded immediate steps to simplify land acquisition and securing of environment and forest clearances. Developers The developers also said land acquisition is an area of concern which requires to be addressed by state governments. The current period of about 2-3 years, required for land acquisition, needs to be reduced.

According to the developers, providing an enabling work environment for unhindered execution of projects is extremely necessary. NHPC, which is currently engaged in executing 11 projects with an aggregate capacity of 4,622 mw, has suggested that the development of basic infrastructural facilities like road connectivity, communication by the government to attract investment and the expeditious implementation of hydropower projects located in logistically difficult areas, should also be considered.

NTPC, engaged in implementing hydro projects amounting to 1,920 mw, has emphasised the need to address technical issues relating to preparing bankable detailed project reports, tackling geological uncertainties and shortage of trained manpower.

SK Garg, chairman and managing director, NHPC, told FE, Resolving inter-state issues is another area where intervention from the Centre will be helpful in implementing projects what involve water-sharing issues. Since hydro power projects are highly capital-intensive, it would be a good idea for the government to consider enhancing the exposure limit of lending institutions for providing long-term loans to the hydro sector at lower rates of interest in order to make funds available to the project developers. Besides, the government has to take steps to expedite the environment and forest clearance process. Garg also said that in addition to the various measures taken by the government for developing hydro power in the country, other steps are also required. He also added that the government has announced the National Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy 2007, with core provisions to ensure an adequate rehabilitation package. The New Hydro Policy 2008 has also been brought out to provide a further impetus.