Centre stalls captive port for Ultra Mega Thermal Power Project near Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu

The Union Ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee felt that Ultra Mega Thermal Power Project in Cheyyur and its captive port are inter-linked for which environmental clearances would be required.

Published: 11th April 2019 01:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2019 01:57 AM   |  A+A-

Smokes billowing above the thermal power plants. (EPS |V Karthikalagu)

Representational image. (EPS |V Karthikalagu)

Express News Service

CHENNAI : The Union government has stalled the establishment of a captive port for the proposed 4,000 MW Ultra Mega Thermal Power Project (UMPP) near Cheyyur in Kancheepuram. Earlier in February, the Union Environment Ministry denied clearance for the UMPP — proposed to be the largest in the State — after the fuel source was changed from imported to domestic coal. The Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited (CTNPL) had been directed to apply afresh for clearances, which means it has to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and hold a public hearing all over again.   

The decision on halting the captive port project was taken at the Ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) meeting on March 27. The committee was of the opinion that, “Setting up of the UMPP and establishment of captive port for the proposed UMPP, are inter-linked and the project proponent should apply afresh to carry out the process of obtaining environmental and CRZ clearances....” CTNPL officials said establishment of the captive port near Panaiyur village, goes in hand-in-hand with Cheyyur power plant. The coal has to be handled at the captive port.

Since the nature of coal has changed from imported to domestic, the annual quantum of coal may increase from 10-12 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA imported coal) to 18-20 MTPA (domestic coal).The environmental clearance for establishment of the port was accorded to CTNPL by the Environment Ministry on November 30, 2012. One of the conditions was, “In the event of a change in the project profile or change in the implementation agency, a fresh reference shall be made to the ministry.”

‘Land requirement has doubled’

EAC (Thermal) Chairman Navin Chandra, said the change in source of coal meant the land requirement has doubled from the original 1058 acres to 2007 acres. “Environmental impacts from domestic coal for a large sized power project will also change significantly,” he said

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