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Clearance for NTPC project extended

The power project at Salakati in Kokrajhar district. Telegraph picture

Guwahati, Jan. 2: An expert panel of the ministry of environment and forests has agreed to extend the environmental clearance accorded to the 750MW Bongaigaon thermal power project — citing that the project is at an advanced stage of implementation.

Environmental clearance for the project, situated at Salakati in Kokrajhar district, was given on June 7, 2007.

The validity expired on June 6, 2012. Investment approval was given in January 2008 and the main plant was awarded in February 2008. The scheduled date of completion was 2011.

The NTPC informed the committee that construction could not be completed within the stipulated five years because the project site was located in a remote and disturbed area where the law and order situation was bad.

The poor turnout of contractors and high rainfall also contributed to the delay.

Sources said the expert appraisal committee on environmental impact assessment of thermal, power and coal mine projects noted that the project was in an advanced stage of implementation and no public interest would be served by denying the extension sought.

“The units are in an advanced stage of construction/erection. The first unit is expected to be commissioned in July 2014. The second and third units are expected to be commissioned by May and October 2015 respectively. The cumulative expenditure on the project till August 2013 was Rs 4,050 crore out of the total project cost of Rs 4,720 crore,” the NTPC said.

However, the committee noted that the application for extension of validity of environment clearance was submitted to the ministry of environment and forests only in September last year whereas the validity had expired on June 6, 2012.

The NTPC expressed its sincere regrets for the inadvertent delay and promised that the same would not be repeated in future for any other project.