Andaman and Nicobar islands to get gas plant

May 10, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:44 am IST - New Delhi

Environment Ministry has approved an exemption to laws governing regulation of coastal zones

Andaman administration has sought dual-fuel power plants.AFP

Andaman administration has sought dual-fuel power plants.AFP

The Union Environment Ministry has approved an exemption to the laws governing the regulation of coastal zones and has paved the way for gas-powered plants to be set up on the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Island Coastal Zone Regulation (ICRZ), 2019, limits infrastructure development on vulnerable coastal stretches.

Enabling provision

In the aftermath of a proposal from the Andaman and Nicobar Coastal Zone Management Authority (ANCZMA), an expert body of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, called the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA), recommended in August 2021 that it was necessary to provide an “enabling provision in the ICRZ notification” to meet the energy requirement of the islanders while reducing the dependence on highly polluting energy sources such as conventional diesel generator (DG) sets.

The NCZMA has recommended that gas-based power plants be permitted within the Island Coastal Regulation Zone area only on islands with geographical areas greater than 100 sq. km.

The Central government, following this, invited comments from the public on modifications to to the ICZR, and on May 5, issued a notification accepting the National Coastal Zone Management Authority recommendation.

The Andaman and Nicobar administration is expected to commission a 50-MW power project running on liquefied natural gas at Hope Town, Port Blair, to be developed by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

Following visits by the NTPC personnel, a dual-fuel power plant that runs on both diesel and LNG is expected to be commissioned.

Back-up clause

Diesel is necessary, the Andaman administration authorities argued, as a back-up fuel when the region faced inclement weather.

There has been an increased interest in the development of the Andaman region following a policy push by the NITI Aayog.

A proposed project plans to develop the Greater Andaman region or the southernmost stretch of the island group.

Proposals include a airport complex, a transshipment port (TSP) at South Bay at an estimated cost of Rs. 12,000 crore, a parallel-to-the-coast mass rapid transport system and a free trade zone and warehousing complex on the southwestern coast.

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