NTPC seeks SC help to get Rs 1,527-cr power plan on Uttarakhand grid

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 17 2014, 06:45am hrs
The Supreme Court on Monday sought reply from the Uttrakhand government on NTPC's plea seeking approval to go ahead with the construction of a Rs 1,527.08-crore power project in the state.

The apex court had imposed blanket stay on the construction of 24 hydro projects, including NTPC's 171 MW Lata Tapovan Hydro Electric Power project, after last year's natural disaster in the state.

Agreeing to hear NTPC's plea, a bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen issued notice to the state government after Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the PSU, contended that its project was not situated in the eco-sensitive zone. The matter has been posted for further hearing on July 22.

Seeking a rethink on the ban, NTPC said that the apex courts August last year's order had caused huge monetary losses and had created financial strains. The Lata Tapovan Project had gone through the rigorous studies and had all the required clearances, including one by the Central Electricity Authority, NTPC's application filed through counsel Sharmila Upadhyay stated.

According to the PSU, the project was erroneously included along with other 23 projects which were merely at proposal stages. In fact, the construction work on the project was going on in full swing when the apex court had passed the directions, it said, while asking the court to consider its case differently and independent from the other proposed projects.

Any stoppage would lead to serious consequences related to labour unrest, starting of litigation and above all enhancing the cost of construction, burdening the public exchequer adversely...the agency to whom the execution work was awarded will have to demobilise and remobilise and project activities will be halted for approximately 6 months period which may lead to escalation in project cost to the tune of more than Rs 310 crore, the application stated.

NTPC had awarded the contract to Larsen & Toubro for civil works and to BHEL for electro mechanical work. The project was scheduled to complete by June 2017.

The apex court had on August 13 last year prohibited setting up of any new hydroelectric power project in the state and directed the Centre to constitute an expert body to study environmental degradation caused by such projects. The court had also directed the MoEF and the Uttarakhand government not to grant any further environmental or forest clearance for any hydroelectric power project until further orders.