Before Election Commission announces schedule for Lok Sabha elections

With the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issuing environmental clearance for the 1,320-MW (megawatt) Ennore Special Economic Zone (SEZ) thermal power project early this month, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) is keen on settling contracts for three thermal power projects of 3,300 MW before the Election Commission announces the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections by late February or early March. Else, the power utility may have to wait for three or four months before proceeding further on the tenders for the projects, sources say.

Of the three projects, the Udangudi and Ennore SEZ thermal power projects have the capacity of 1,320 MW each. Technical specifications provided by bidders for these projects are under scrutiny.

In both these projects, three Chinese firms and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) have participated in the bids. In respect of the 660-MW ETPS (Ennore Thermal Power Station) expansion project, the authorities are negotiating with the lowest bidder, Lanco Infratech, which has submitted the price bid. The projects – Udangudi and ETPS expansion project – received the environmental clearance in October last and June 2009.

Among the specific conditions laid down by the Union Ministry in respect of the Ennore SEZ project are the formulation of a vision document, specifying perspective plan, within six months; harnessing solar power through roof-top installations; no transportation of imported coal by road and carrying out a long-term study on radio activity and the presence of heavy metals contents in coal through a reputed institute. No waterbodies including natural drainage system in the area should be disturbed due to activities associated with the setting up/operation of the power plant.

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