Citizens' Issues
Tuticorin power project stuck due to environmental clearance

It is well known that Tamil Nadu experiences continuous power shortage and industrial development, apart from supplies to the public at large, has been inadequate. If the clearances were given expeditiously, the Tuticorin power plant would not have been kept idle for a year now!


Although Prakash Javadekar, the Environment Minister has repeatedly assured, after a few weeks in office, that his Ministry would not be a stumbling block in holding up clearances, the Rs6,600 crore 2x500 MW Neyveli Lignite Corp-Tamil Nadu power project at Tuticorin has not become operational as yet due to statutory clearances!

Reports indicate that the Project is still awaiting wild life and forest clearances from the Central Government departments concerned.


It may be called that, originally, this 2x500 MW NLC-Tamil Nadu Electricity Board project ought to have been commissioned in October last year but which was delayed to take place by December 2013. For this purpose, both imported coal and domestic coal of about 70,000 tonnes have been procured and stored at site.


As they were awaiting the Central departmental clearances, the State Pollution Control authorities also did not accord their clearance in the absence of a sewerage treatment plant, for which they had issued permit, valid till June only.


Now NLC confirms having floated bids for setting up a sewerage treatment plant and are confident that the power plant can go into stream once the eco clearance is obtained. Was there a delay on the part of calling for bids and finalising the award? This is not clear from available information.


This Tuticorin project is expected to supply only 400 MW of electricity to Tamil Nadu whose requirements exceed 12,000 MW. Once the MOEF clearances are in hand, it is expected that the two units will go into power generation, one after another, in a span of about 30 days. It is well known that Tamil Nadu experiences power shortage continuously and industrial development, apart from supplies to the public at large, has been inadequate. If the clearances were given expeditiously, this plant would not have been kept idle for a year now!


Would the Power Ministry and MoEF at least get their acts together and ensure such things do not occur? Why can't the MoEF give a blanket clearance to all the identified government projects, so that there is no delay in completion and actual commissioning?


They may make a provision that the needs of clearances should be complied within a time frame allotted for this purpose?


Ministerial public assurances have no meaning if these are not actually implemented. At the same time, if there is a lapse on the part of the applicant (in this case, NLC and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board), they should be taken to task. But work must not suffer, and focus should be to produce the power. It would also be interesting to know for how long the coal stocks are sufficient to run the plant, and the steps taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


Ebola-C Told to Drop Treatment Claims

US Fed sent a joint warning letter to marketers of dietary supplement over unapproved Ebola treatment claims


A dietary supplement advertised online as a defense against Ebola — as well as a featured item on TMZ Live (!) — has drawn the censure of federal agencies for making unapproved treatment claims for the deadly disease that has ravaged West Africa.

The FTC and FDA write in a joint warning letter to the marketers of Ebola-C:

The marketing and sale of unapproved or uncleared Ebola Virus-related products is a potentially significant threat to the public health. Therefore, FDA is taking urgent measures to protect consumer from products that, without approval or clearance by FDA, claim to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure Ebola Virus in people.

The letter cites the name of the product and the phrase, “DEFEND YOURSELF NOW!!!!! EBOLA-C®,” as examples of the dietary supplements being marketed as a drug, which is illegal without FDA approval.

For more of our coverage on Ebola treatment claims, click here.



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