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Developers see CWC, CEA and Forest Ministry as delayers on energy front

Dhruv Vijay Singh had a difficult time in defending various central govt institutions accused by various stakeholders of delaying the projects.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 11, 2012, 10.08 PM IST
SRINAGAR: At an international hydropower conference here, Union Water Secretary Dhruv Vijay Singh had a difficult time in defending various central government institutions accused by various stakeholders of delaying the projects.

Delayed execution of energy projects, they said, is costing India dearly as the hydropower generation is gradually falling in the overall energy mix available for the overall growth.

Leading the assault, the host state accused the Ministry of Forests and Environment and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) of delaying the clearances to the extent that it, in certain cases, it led to the cost overruns.

Basharat Ahmad Dhar, the former power secretary who now heads the state’s fully owned Power Development Corporation, offered chilling instants of delayed clearances in certain projects.

“We got the clearance for Sawlakote in June and then we started a fresh survey that increased the capacity of the project and in October we applied again for a fresh clearance but we were told that the entire process will be done again,” Dhar said.

Barring the capacity of the project nothing had changed but the norms for clearance changed. “This happened in Baglihar-II as well where there was no submergence of areas, no relocation of habitations or depopulation but the process remained the same.”

J&K suggested that it takes a long time to seek a formal proforma released from the ministry and once its filed the qualifications are communicated.

“It would have been better if the basic proforma was made available on the net and the developers download and submit and then the questions are raised,” Dhar said.

“We are losing time twice over and that adds to delays, costs and time overruns thus impacting the overall targets.”

Sandeep Singhal, who is the Director (projects) with the UJVN ltd said the developers are the new “voiceless species”.

He referred to a particular Utarkhand project that was forced to be abandoned after half of it was through. “There are some individuals living far away from Utterkhand and have become activists whos campaigns led to stalling the projects,” Singhal said.

“We are being accused of creating problems for the Ganges.”

Participants said the delay is norm regardless of who authors it. There are CWC prepared DPRs which are getting delayed at the level of CEA and MoEF.

“These institutions are seeking certain details which are as huge as DPR itself,” one participant from an MNC said.

“If the energy is focus area why can not w have basic information’s on which the clearances are issued. They are seeking certain things which they do not require at all.”

Responding to the fierce debate the Water Secretary said the developers as well as the state governments are increasingly exhibiting hurry in implementation of power projects that leaves many grey areas.

“Ecological issues are vital and no institution can see the other way,” he said asserting the CWC and CEA are going by their mandate.

“Usually a promoter should have eight years of water flow series while drafting the DPR but we have cases in which they try to work it out with a single year discharge,” Singh said. “I need not to identify the companies but on environment and ecology front, developers are not offering much of the details.”

He suggested that promoter of projects should have all the clearances and the DPRs in hand and then hand over the project to developers for implementation. “Projects have very scanty geological information about the dams and other structures,” he asserted while referring to a particular project that ha dam in loose soil.

On the overall cooperation from the states for harnessing the overall water potential, water secretary painted no rosy picture. Referring to various states including Punjab, Haryana, J&K and Kerlea, the officer said states seem to be driven by their own priorities on water.

However, the officer said that the only way out to respond to the concerns by the stakeholders in the energy sector is to set timelines for clearances. “There is a possibility of fixing a six month deadline for a clearance and if it is not issued it should be deemed to be approved and cleared,” he said.

“There were berths within the union government institutions not filled for some time but we are appointing 2000 individuals in CWC and that must change things now.”

The hydropower conference organized by the India Tech Foundation is being attended by more than 100 delegates from the energy sector.

Apart from major players from the technology and civil side, there are various investors and promoting organizations attending the two day conclave. It has J&K as a focus chapter.

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