After having remained in a dormant condition for quite some time, the environment and forests minister M Veerappa Moily in a recent move has cleared six long-stalled hydro power infrastructure projects involving a staggering investment worth Rs 19,000cr. The mega projects securing clearance included Tawang, and NHPC’s 520 MW Teesta-IV hydro-electric project in Sikkim. The power minister, who approved the Teesta project recently said that the environment would be protected at all cost and added that the ministry cleared more than 65 files after December 23 and 75% of them related to Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) and the Tawang is the first project to be cleared for Arunachal Pradesh in the north eastern region of the country.
He added that the Teesta project has been stalled since March 2006 when a memorandum of understanding was signed between NHPC and the Sikkim government. Among other projects that have secured nod since Veerappa Moily took over the ministry on December 24, the major ones are the 1,600 MW Ennore SEZ super-critical imported coal-based thermal power plant in Tamil Nadu, Chennai Petroleum’s crude oil pipeline, and Hinduja National Power’s 1,040 MW thermal power project in Visakhapatnam. That apart, coal mining projects such as the Rohne open-cast mine in Jharkhand, Ukni Deep in Maharashtra, Chhinda open-cast mine in Madhya Pradesh and the expansion of the Gevra open-cast project in Chhattisgarh. The projects, which were earlier referred to the prime minister-led Cabinet Committee on Investments, include two power projects with over 2,100 MW capacities, two coal mines, a port in Andhra Pradesh and a crude oil pipeline from Chennai port and these projects take the tally of investments salvaged by CCI to almost Rs 6 lakh-cr, he added.