Faced with continuous legal hurdles one after another, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco), in a first-of-its-kind decision, has decided to shift Uppur Super Critical Power Project at Ramanathapuram district to Udangudi in Thoothukudi to overcome various issues like the National Green Tribunal order, land litigation, local people agitation and establishment of the railway line to transport coal.
Tangedco has awarded the engineering procurement and construction contract to set up two 800 MW units of the supercritical thermal power plants at Uppur under three packages – Boilers Turbine and Generator package to BHEL for Rs 5,852 crore, Balance of Plant package which was awarded to Reliance Infra for Rs 3,647 crore cancelled and re-tendering process is on and seawater intake and outfall system package was awarded to L&T for Rs 1,067 crore. The total cost of the project was Rs 12,778 crore.
A decision to shift the Uppur project to Udangudi was in-principal approved by the Tangedco board, which met on April 24, and decided to approach the State government for its approval. NGT Southern Bench order on March 17 to suspend all the work until obtaining revised environmental clearance for the project was the final nail on it. Tangedco has suspended the EPC contract of the BTG package and seawater package.
Out of the 995 acres of land required for the project, 350 acres of patta land is under litigation and delayed the works for a long time until the Supreme court passed an interim under in the utility’s favour.
Moreover, the board order said coal for the Uppur project is to be transported from Tuticorin Port through a rail route for which a 28.8 km new railway private siding from Ramanathapuram to the project site is to be established. “Udangudi project is proposed to establish six units of 660 MW (3,960 MW) project in three stages. The EPC contract for the Stage-I 2X660 MW was awarded to BHEL and a captive coal jetty contract for handling of coal for all the three stages was awarded to ITD Cementation,” it said, adding that if the Uppur project is shifted to Udangudi, the existing coal jetty would be fully utilised and the new railway siding works at Uppur not required. “As such, there will be a reduction in the coal logistic cost, thereby reducing the variable cost. Hence the shifting of the project may be a prudent and economically viable option as Udangudi (2X800 MW) Stage-II by utilising the existing captive coal jetty,” it said.