Tamil Nadu

No work on Uppur thermal power plant for six months

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Project remains stuck for want of ‘3(1) notification’ from CMO

Ramanathapuram: The ₹12,772-crore Uppur Supercritical Thermal Power Plant, hailed as the pet project of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, remained stuck for more than six months after she laid the foundation stone in July 2016 and the Boiler Turbine Generator (BTG) contract was handed over to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

After obtaining necessary clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and clearing other decks, the 1,600 MW coal-based power plant was set to take off in July 2016 with BHEL having been awarded the main part of the contract, but the project remained stuck for want of ‘3 (1) notification’ to alienate a vast stretch of private lands.

Three special Tahsildars and nearly 30 staff appointed for the purpose of acquiring 768 acres of patta lands were ‘sitting idle’ as the file for issuing the notification had been pending with the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) since July 2016, sources said.

The district administration issued notification under Section 3 (2) of the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Lands for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997 and published it in the district gazette on November 23, 2015. Then, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) sent three notes to the CMO for the ‘3 (1) notification’.

TANGEDCO sent the first note in July 2016, and the revised second note in November after Jayalalithaa’s portfolios were handed over to O. Panneerselvam when she was in hospital. The third note was sent in January 2017 after Mr. Panneerselvam assumed office as Chief Minister, the sources said.

BHEL could proceed further only after TANGEDCO alienated 767.83 acres of private lands and handed them over to it. “By this time, BHEL should have completed 30% of work, but the work site remains barren,” the sources said.

After cleaning up 229.59 acres of government lands handed over to it, the pubic sector undertaking suspended the work.

After BHEL was handed over the ₹5,580-crore BTG contract, TANGEDCO was all set to award ₹3,700-crore ‘balance of project’ contract and ₹1,100-crore ‘intake and outfall structure system’ contract to Reliance, the sources said.

People of this arid district, who expected that the project would create huge employment opportunities, were disappointed. Now, TANGEDCO apprehended that the contractors might seek cost escalation as the gestation period was only three years, the sources said.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 12:24:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/No-work-on-Uppur-thermal-power-plant-for-six-months/article17242485.ece

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