Centre asks Orissa to conduct cumulative env impact assessment

Bhubaneswar: The Centre on Saturday asked the Orissa government to undertake a cumulative environment impact assessment of thermal power projects which were coming up in a big way in the state.

Union Environment minister Jairam Ramesh told this to the chief minister Naveen Patnaik here during a meeting. "I have told the chief minister to conduct a cumulative environment impact assessment on thermal power plant areas." Ramesh told reporters.

The issue came up during the discussion when Patnaik requested Ramesh to give priority to the state owned Orissa Power Generation Corporation`s (OPGC) proposed ultra mega power plant (UMPP) at Dulinga in Sundargarh district.

While OPGC was interested to set up a 4,000 MW of thermal power generation station at Dulinga, NTPC and another private investor had also proposed to set up similar capacity thermal power station at the same place.

"As the three proposed plants would generate more than 10,000 MW of power, I have told the Ministry of Power to select one of them as the locality could not bear the amount of pollution," Ramesh said adding that he had no objection if the Power Ministry approved OPGC`s name.

This apart, Ramesh also said that the state government should make proper study on availability of water in the locality where mega thermal plants were being set up.

Meanwhile, the state government had already signed MoUs with atleast 29 independent popwer producers (IPPs) for setting up thermal power plants.

Ramesh said though projects undertake individual environment impact assessment, a cumulative one would give a proper direction in this regard.