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Navratna status provides the necessary autonomy to NLC

Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) was incorporated as a government company in 1956 and opened India's largest mine and lignite based power station in early 1960s.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2011 22:20 IST

Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) was incorporated as a government company in 1956 and opened India's largest mine and lignite based power station in early 1960s. At present it has three mines with a capacity 24.5 million tones per annum (MTPA) and three thermal stations of total capacity of 2490 MW at Neyveli. It is also setting up 100MW coal-based thermal plant jointly with Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) at Tuticorin. NLC's chairman and managing director AR Ansari spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of issues. Excerpts:

NLC was recently conferred the Navratna status. How is this going to help the company?
Navratna status will definitely help to quicken the process of expansion and thereby propel the growth rate. NLC is now free to take up new projects without going through the process of government approval. NLC is also free to incur capital expenditure without ceiling. This has given significant autonomy to us. As per the government's policy, from January 2011, all projects of power generation and transmission should be decided on the basis of competitive bidding. Navratna status provides the necessary autonomy to participate in such bids.

Being in an ecologically sensitive sector, how have you ensured that environmental norms are adhered to?
NLC is in the business of lignite mining and power generation and both are major sources of atmospheric pollution. Therefore, in NLC environment management is given its due importance. The noise level is generally kept reduced below the permissible level by adopting certain remedial measures. In lignite mines effective dust suppression measures are implemented. Electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) of more than 99% efficiency have been installed to remove the ash particles from the outgoing gas. Besides, modern dry ash collection system has been introduced as well. NLC has installed 13 permanent ambient air quality(AAQ) stations which continuously monitor pollutants.

What efforts have you made towards maintaining ecological balance in the areas where NLC runs its plants?
Around 18 million trees have been planted in and around the Neyveli township and production units, which helps in maintaining clean environment, dust suppression, noise control, lowering the atmospheric temperature and maintaining ecological balance. NLC has planned for refilling and reclamation of mined out area. The soil excavated is backfilled in dumps and slope is stabilised by conventional mining equipments. The back filled areas with sterile soil are reclaimed by adopting different methods and used for agricultural, horticulture crops and development of forestry and pasture land.

Can you elaborate on NLC's corporate social responsibility?
NLC spends not less than 1% of its profits on CSR programmes. These include continuous supply of water for irrigating over 23000 acres in surrounding villages, maintaining bore wells and supply of drinking water for around 70 villages and treatment of more than one lakh patients from rural areas in the NLC general hospital.

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