The Uttar Pradesh government has finally pulled the plug on its 1,980 mw coal-fired Dopaha power project in Sonebhadra after failing to get a green nod and land for the plan. The state has been trying to kick-start the project for four years.
The 3x660 mw supercritical plant needed 1,475 acres land, approximately 9.7 million tonne per annum coal and 60 cusecs of water.
But ever since its inception in 2009 by the then Mayawati government, the project has faced hurdles in getting land and environmental clearances. The decision to shelve the project was taken Thursday evening by an energy task force (ETF) headed by the chief secretary.
An official of the state power department said the government thought it was better to bury the project because there was no hope of either getting the land or the green nod from the Centre.
The state government had been trying to get the environmental clearance since 2010. The Centre had denied the clearance on the ground that the nearby Singrauli area was under observation because of pollution from the production of 10,000 mw of power in the area. The UP government tried to reason with the environment and forest ministry, saying Dopaha, in Sonebhadra, is 30 km away from the Singauli area and will in no way add to the pollution of the area.
According to the environmental ministry, a study carried out by the Centre at Singrauli warned that these power plants could cause irreparable damage to the environment of the area. Accepting the preliminary findings of the study, the environment ministry said that no power plant should come up in the notified (Singrauli) area till a Central team completes its study on the environmental hazards of these power plants.
The state government, on its part, contested the view and said that the Centre was building up a flimsy ground to deny it the right to set up a power plant near a mine-rich area.
Singrauli, which is fast emerging as an energy hub of India, houses a total installed capacity of approximately 10,000 mw. This is more than 10% of total installed capacity of the entire country.
A major chunk of the power produced at the pit-heads of Singrauli goes to the central and private sectors, including NTPC’s Vindhyachal project (3260 mw), Shaktinagar project (2000 mw) and Rihand Super Thermal Power project (2000 mw) in Rihandnagar. Also, Sasan Power Limited is setting up a 4000-mw ultra-mega power project at Singrauli.
The MP government, too, has set up its own power projects here.
“Uttar Pradesh has only Anpara A, B and D and Obra thermal Power Station near the mines. For a power-starved state like UP, not being able to set up even one plant at Sonebhadra would mean taking the project to a faraway place. This will force additional cartage and result in expensive power for people,” an official of the UP Power Corporation said.
"To nip our proposal was uncalled for...it is likely to jeopardize the development of the power sector in UP.”