Revise thermal power plants guidelines: Green Tribunal to MoEF

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to revise guidelines for setting up of thermal power projects by clearly demarcating the areas not conducive for projects.

The MoEF was asked to submit the revised guidelines, which should clearly indicate `Go` as the area for a project and `No go` as the place where a project cannot be undertaken, within three months.

The order came along with the tribunal`s decision that environment clearance to Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd for first phase of proposed 2,640 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Andhra Pradesh`s Srikakulam district, shall remain suspended and the MoEF shall revisit the nod.

The Rs 14,000-crore thermal power project (TPP) was caught in controversy after protests by locals that led to death of three persons in police firing in July, 2010. A bench of Tribunal headed by its Acting Chairperson A S Naidu said the guidelines relating to TPPs followed by MoEF were formulated "way back" in 1987 and should be updated.

"The changed scenario, scientific developments and change in technology mandates that the siting criteria as well as guidelines for setting up TPPs should be revised to bring it on a par with modern techniques to suit present environmental condition and to protect the ecologically sensitive areas.
We, therefore, direct the MoEF to take cognisance of the present-day scenario and revise the siting criteria, guidelines for setting up of TPPs to match with the present day requirements as early as possible so as to avoid future controversies," the bench, also comprising Dr G K Pandey as an expert member, said.

The Tribunal said the updated guidelines would avoid "unnecessary litigation" and would go a long way in providing proper selection of environmentally compatible sites.