Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress Monday advised the state government to exercise restraint and not clear the proposed Rs 9,785-crore power plant project by NTPC at Talcher in a hurry.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress raised the issue while initiating a debate on the Odisha Appropriation Bill, 2018 in the Assembly.
Citing media reports, Mishra said the state government and the Centre had exchanged letters over clearance for the NTPC project.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requesting him to clear the project as it has already been given environment, water and other required clearances.
The project could not take off as the state government’s High Level Clearance Committee has not cleared it yet.
State energy minister Sushant Singh had written to Union Power Minister RK Singh stating that the state has been supporting the project for which it obtained other clearances. However, the Odisha government has expressed its reservation against the high power tariff of the proposed power plant.
The state government pointed out that the tariff of the proposed 1,320 MW project at Talcher was pegged at Rs 3.40 per unit, which is more than Rs 2.68 per unit indicated earlier. The state has also requested the Centre to use the transmission network of the state for evacuation of power from Talcher to avoid transmission charge to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Union Power Minister has again written to the Chief Minister seeking personal intervention for clearance to the NTPC project.
“The Prime Minister is expected to visit Talcher September 22. May I suggest that we utilise this opportunity for laying the foundation stone on that day in your august presence,” Union Power Minister RK Singh wrote to Patnaik.
Mishra cautioned the state government that it should not clear the project “in a hurry” to keep date with the Prime Minister’s visit. “During this session, we can discuss the matter in the Assembly and see whether the NTPC’s project will be beneficial for the people of the state. A committee may be set up to look into the matter,” Mishra said.
Coming down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “The Prime Minister’s past record shows that he makes promises but doesn’t fulfill any. The PM had promised modernisation of a hospital in Rourkela and a second bridge on Brahmani River during his visit four years ago. The promises were not fulfilled.”
Citing another instance, he said the PMO did not give an appointment to the House Committee to hold discussion on the minimum support price of paddy. Therefore, the state government should not clear the project in a hurry, he said.
The Congress leader also criticised the BJD government in the state for not fulfilling its promises. “The BJD in 2006 promised to provide irrigation facilities to 35 per cent of each block in the state. So far this has not happened,” he said, adding that both the governments make false promises.