The 4,000 megawatt, Rs 20,000-crore Sasan ultra mega power project (UMPP) being implemented by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power, scheduled to start generation by January 2013, is stuck in a jam over ‘Go’ and ‘No-Go’ coal blocks.
Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh is leading green initiatives under which areas sensitive for forestry and tribal livelihoods get special protection.
In a recent letter to the coal minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Reliance Power expressed alarm at the delay in development of coal production from the Chhatrasal block allotted to Reliance Power. Both Sasan and Chhatrasal are in MP.
“This designation (of ‘No-Go’ area) ….would not only delay the development of the domestic coal production from the Chhatrasal block, but also adversely impact the reliability of coal supply to the Sasan UMPP,” it said in its April 6 letter.The Chhatrasal coal block is one of the captive coal blocks in addition to the Moher and Moher-Amlohri extension blocks that have been allocated to Reliance Power by the coal ministry. However, as Chhatrasal is a designated No-Go block, Reliance has not been able to get clearance.
While the company declined comment, sources close to Reliance Power said Chhatrasal is one of the 8 coal blocks recommended by an inter-ministerial group last year to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for forest clearance. However, the environment minister rejected the PMO’s recommendation.
“Introducing the concept of "No-Go", five years after the bidding process, and denying forest Clearance to the Chhatrasal coal block will be perceived as being against the bidding parameters communicated to international participants for the Sasan UMPP,” Reliance Power said, adding that the concept of "No-Go" areas for Forest Clearance did not exist when the Government of India invited internatinal bids for the Sasan UMPP in 2006.