The Odisha government has urged the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) to place the proposal of KVK Nilachal Power Ltd for grant of wildlife clearance to its 1,050 Mw coal-fired plant in the state.
KVK Nilachal Power Ltd had proposed 1,050 Mw power station at Athagarh in Cuttack district. Since the project site fell within 10 km of the Kapilash wildlife sanctuary, it needed the go-ahead from the National Board of Wildlife (NBW).
“The Odisha government, after having considered all aspects of the project, has been pleased to accept the recommendations of the State Board of Wildlife (SBW) for recommending the proposal for establishment of 1,050 Mw thermal power plant to the NBW. It is therefore requested that the proposal may kindly be placed before the standing committee of NBW for their consideration and approval,” Debabrata Swain, special secretary (forest & environment), Odisha said in a letter to the inspector general of forests (wildlife), MoEF.
The recommendation of the SBW follows the field visit of the chief wildlife warden who clarified that the project would not cause any damage, destruction, exploitation or removal of wildlife or forest produce or degradation of habitat in the sanctuary. Also, the project site does not involve any elephant corridor or established path which would adversely affect the movement of wild animals.
The SBW, however, has imposed some conditions on the project proponent. First — the laterite quarries lying in the project area and in the area surrounding the project site shall be developed and maintained by the project proponent in the form of water bodies. At least, 15 such water bodies have to be developed.
Second — the developer would take up enrichment plantation of elephant friendly fodder species in Baniabandha reserve forest and Gobra reserve forest.
Third — three under passes would be constructed at suitable locations as per the suggestions of the divisional forest officer (DFO) for smooth movement of elephants.
KVK Nilachal has signed power purchase agreement (PPA) with Power Trading Corporation (PTC) for supply of 500 Mw of power to be generated from the power plant. This power will ultimately be tied up with state utilities through Case-I bidding.
The company has also signed power purchase agreement with Gridco for sale of 25 per cent saleable energy from the project. This PPA has been filed with the Odisha State Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) for tariff approval. Besides, all power generated above 80 per cent PLF (Plant Load Factor) will be supplied to Odisha at variable cost.