Court Bars State from Taking Possession of Land for Cheyyur Power Project

Issuing interim injunctions in two separate cases, the Madras High Court has directed Tamil Nadu state government authorities to maintain status quo on the matter of possession of land for the 4000 MW coal-fired power plant cum captive port in Cheyyur, Kanchipuram district. The latest injunction was ordered on 26 March, 2015 in a case filed by A. Kasthuri who owns a residential plot in Panaiyur vilage. The district revenue authorities are acquiring around 1000 acres of land for the project under the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997. Acquisition proceedings are at an advanced stage, and awards for compensation have been made. However, the lands have not changed possession as many of the farmers and land-owners have refused to part with the papers or hand-over the land.

Two land-owners with plots in Panaiyur village have approached the High Court opposing the acquisition of their land for setting up a captive port for the Cheyyur power project. They have claimed that the Industrial Purposes Act which was used to acquire the land does not have any self-contained provision for calculation of compensation. The suit argues that since the Act relies on the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for computation of compensation, and since the 1894 Act has been replaced by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, settling land acquisition or calculating compensation under the 1997 law cannot be maintained in law.

The case is pending and the court is yet to take a final view on the matter.

Centre aborts Cheyyur and Bedabahal UMPP bids to avoid Public sector

The ambitious ultra mega power project scheme has received a set back with centre cancelling the bids for the two proposed plants at Bedabahal (Odisha) and Cheyyur (Tamil Nadu) citing tepid private sector response. But, In both Cases, bids of public sector companies were rejected by the centre. The country’s largest thermal power producer, the NTPC, has emerged as the sole bidder for the Tamil Nadu project, NTPC and a NHPC-BHEL joint venture are in the fray for the Odisha UMPP.

If a public sector company is the only bidder then the project can be awarded. But if a private firm is the sole bidder, the tender can be scrapped as per bidding rules. But private companies and The Association of Power Producers (APP), a body representing the private firms, were lobying for cancellation tender and the centre accepted it.

“Unfortunately we did not get enough bids, we have had to scrap the process, its a process which was initiated before this government came in, I thought it was not prudent to keep extending the date without any possible solution,” Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said.

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NTPC the only bidder for Tamil Nadu UMPP

Govt to cancel bid as pvt companies pull out, final call on 2 ultra mega power projects by January 5
BS Reporter | New Delhi December 24, 2014 Last Updated at 00:42 IST

NTPC, the state-owned thermal power generation giant, might lose the chance to build its first ultra mega power project (UMPPs), as the government is likely to scrap the bidding process for the Cheyyur UMPP in Tamil Nadu. There is also a likelihood that bids for Odisha UMPP would also be shelved as NTPC and NHPC are the only bidders in race for it.

A bid evaluation committee headed by V K Shunglu, ex-Comproller and Auditor General of India would send its recommendations by January 5 to the ministry of power which would take the final call on both UMPPs. The bids for Odisha UMPP are to be opened on January 7.

In wake of other six potential bidders, all from the private sector, withdrawing from the race citing regulatory issues in the bidding format, officials said that the just one quote can’t be accepted under Central Vigilance Commision guidelines.

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Survey report puts Cheyyur project in trouble

It has identified 19 places of historical, archaeological and religious importance within a 10 km-radius of the plant site

A rapid survey conducted by a city environmental group has claimed the existence of structures of historical and religious importance near the site of the proposed 4000 Megawatt Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) in Cheyyur near here, contradicting the conclusions of the project proponents.

The survey, done in collaboration with villagers around the area by Community Environment Monitoring, has identified 19 places of historical, archaeological and religious importance within a 10 km-radius of the plant site and has put it in the open for professionals to verify.

According to the report, ‘Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited’, the project proponent, in its statutory submissions made to obtain Environment Clearance for the project, had declared that there were no areas occupied by sensitive man-made uses such as places of worship within the 10 km-radius of the project area.

The Common Environmental Impact Assessment report submitted as part of the statutory requirements stated that monuments of historical and religious importance were not reported in the area.

However, the survey claims that the area actually contains ancient monuments of the Chola era, now in a dilapidated condition requiring immediate intervention.

Read the full report here:

‘Hold Fresh Study on Coal-fired Power Unit’

CHENNAI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has quashed the clearance given to the coal-fired power plant coming up in Cuddalore district, directing the private company to get clearance from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) after carrying out a fresh Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) Study.

Following a series of petitions, the matter reached the NGT where it suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) on May 23, 2012. In its order, the tribunal directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review the EC granted to the project based on a CIA study and stipulate any additional environmental conditions if required.

Based on the directive, the MoEF issued a corrigendum on August 14, 2012.

Challenging this, the villagers filed a petition with the NGT, charging that the crucial CIA studies were carried out in just two weeks. This despite the CIA including the impact of all industries on the local environment in the 25 km radius of the plant. The company, claimed the petitioners, borrowed details from past studies, including that done by a company in the neighbourhood about 15 years ago.

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Green Nod in a Hurry to Cuddalore District Power Plant Gets Tribunal’s Red Light

CHENNAI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday quashed the clearance given to the 3,600 MW coal-fired power plant coming up in Cuddalore district, directing the private company to get the clearance from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) after carrying out a fresh Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) Study. The order was pronounced by the Principal Bench in New Delhi, chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar, following petitions by three persons from villages in the district where the plant is coming up.

In a stinging rebuke of the haphazard manner in which the matter was handled by the EAC, the tribunal criticised the “casual approach” and said it “failed to apply its mind” on the material placed before it.

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Green Tribunal Quashes License for 3600MW IL&FS power plant in Cuddalore

Chennai, 10 November 2014: In a far-reaching order, the National Green Tribunal quashed the corrigendum environmental clearance given to IL&FS’s 3600 MW coal-fired power plant in Cuddalore district and made critical observations about the manner in which a Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment (CEIA) for a power project should be carried out and the process which the Experts Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests should consider such reports.

The order emphasized that the IL&FS will have to carry on a fresh Rapid CEIA study for which they should:

“a. Collect baseline/primary data of each and every existing industry as required under prevalent regulations and compare with National Standards as notified by the Government from time to time.

b. Collect data regarding treated effluents discharge/likely to be discharged by such industries.

c. Collect primary baseline data on socio-economic environment.

d. Collect data regarding industry in offing and which are likely to come in next five years as per PCPIR declaration as aforesaid in liaison with State PCB and/or the project proponents.

e. Carry out impact prediction/assessment using appropriate mathematical models.

f. Suggest appropriate management plan/s for significant impacts including financial implications.”

The order also set out that such study (CEIA) “should be placed before the EAC and the EAC shall consider such report and assess whether comprehensive CEIA study is necessary or not and advice the Respondent No. 3 accordingly and thereafter shall carry out the appraisal of the said study or the comprehensive CEIA Study as the case may be as per EC Regulations 2006 and may either recommend the grant of EC on certain specific conditions or decline to recommend the grant of EC by passing a speaking/reasoned order i.e. either recommend or refuse to recommend on reasons adduced therefor.”

The NGT has also come down heavily on the Expert Appraisal Committee of the MoEF for “not applying its mind” in granting the corrigendum Environment Clearance to the project based on the CEIA.

The appeal, seeking quashing of the Environmental Clearance granted to IL&FS on 14.08.2012, was filed by T. Murugandam, former president of Killai panchayat, and two members of the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors.

Advocates Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary appeared for the applicants. The public hearing for the IL&FS project was held on 5 February 2010 and the Environmental Clearance was granted on 30 May 2010.

Full text of the NGT Order can be downloaded from the following link:

Chronology of the IL&FS Power Plant, Cuddalore

Date Event
05.02.2010 Public Hearing for 3600 MW TPP of IL&FS held in Cuddalore
31.05.2010 EC Granted by MoEF
October 2010 EC Challenged at NEAA, matter transferred to NGT
23 May 2012 EC Suspended by NGT pending a Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment
14.08.2012 Corrigendum to original EC issued by MoEF
Aug/ September 2012 Petitioners (T Muruganandam and Othrs) challenge the corrigendum
July 2014 Final hearing for the case completed
10.11.2014 Final Order of NGT