PlanComm panel supports CAG view on usage of surplus coal from Sasan

PlanComm panel supports CAG view on usage of surplus coal from Sasan

The Indian EXPRESS

Amitav Ranjan : New Delhi, Sat Dec 07 2013,

 A Planning Commission panel has supported CAG’s contention that surplus coal from Reliance Power’s Sasan project cannot be diverted to RPL’s 4,000 MW Chitrangi project at the producer’s terms.

“While allotting temporary surplus coal to power units, it may be clearly understood that the benefit of this will have to be fully passed on to the consumers. The coal from this, therefore, should only be permitted for those units which are under power purchase agreement (PPA) and have their prices determined by a regulator,” says the high-level committee headed by Planning Commission member BK Chaturvedi.

“The freedom to transfer coal to another power unit should be based on this stipulation only,” says the committee’s report. The Indian Express first reported that the CAG had alleged that the power ministry gave “undue benefit” of Rs 42,009 crore — spread over 25 years — to RPL in the Sasan ultra mega power project by changing the coal licence norms to allow RPL to divert surplus coal to its Chitrangi project. No PPAs have been signed for the project which is still in conceptual stage.

Since the coal use at the Chitrangi would fetch RPL a higher tariff of Rs 2.45 per unit compared to Rs 1.19 per unit for Sasan for which the coalmine was allotted, the CAG had recommended that the permission to use excess coal be reviewed as “no benefit on this account was passed to the consumers”.

The Chaturvedi committee, which considered the Attorney General’s view on surplus coal transfer from the Sasan project, has suggested that a “general policy” be framed for transfer of any excess coal from captive coal mining companies in the power, cement and steel sectors. “Such policy framework could allow general permission for transfer of surplus coal by any captive coal block user to another end-user of approved use,” it said, while adding that a surplus from “any existing captive block” (such as Sasan) to a new allottee “may be in the nature of a fresh allocation”.

 The report is categorical that the benefits of its policy should not be made available to merchant power plants who sell electricity at unregulated rates to the customers.

“In such cases, they should be free to buy coal from e-auction or import coal and run their power business. To provide them coal from coal surpluses at Coal India prices, which are below the international prices, would be unfair and unjust”, it says. The panel, formed to formulate a policy on coal banking, rejected this option because of legal tangle.

आर पावर के सासन प्रोजेक्ट को अनुचित रियायतें : कैग

आर पावर के सासन प्रोजेक्ट को अनुचित रियायतें : कैग

 Sep 07, 2013, 03:52AM IST
 Dainik Bhaskar
 पर्यावरण मंत्रालय की खिंचाई की, रिलायंस पावर ने किया इनकार

मध्य प्रदेश के सासन स्थित अल्ट्रा मेगा पावर प्रोजेक्ट को लेकर कैग (नियंत्रक एवं महालेखा परीक्षक) ने पर्यावरण मंत्रालय की कड़ी खिंचाई की है। कैग का कहना है कि पर्यावरण मंत्रालय ने रिलायंस पावर लिमिटेड के इस प्रोजेक्ट को गैर वाजिब रियायतें दी हैं।

कैग ने संसद में पेश अपनी रिपोर्ट में कहा है कि मुख्य सचिव द्वारा जारी एक अनुचित सर्टिफिकेट के आधार पर पर्यावरण एवं वन मंत्रालय ने रिलायंस पावर को 1,384.96 हेक्टेयर गैर-वनीय भूमि मुहैया न कराने की छूट दे दी थी। हालांकि, रिलायंस पावर ने कैग के इस अवलोकन से असहमति जताई है। इस कंपनी ने शुक्रवार को कहा कि 4,000 मेगावाट के सासन अल्ट्रा मेगा पावर प्रोजेक्ट के लिए वन भूमि अधिग्रहीत करते वक्त उसे कोई भी रियायत नहीं दी गई थी।

रिलायंस पावर द्वारा जारी एक वक्तव्य मे यह बात कही गई है। इस कंपनी का कहना है कि कैग का यह अवलोकन सही तथ्यों पर आधारित नहीं है। मालूम हो कि सासन पावर लिमिटेड का गठन 4,000 मेगावाट क्षमता का प्लांट लगाने के लिए किया गया है और यह रिलायंस पावर की एक सब्सिडियरी है।

Environment ministry draws CAG fire for sops to Reliance Power

Environment ministry draws CAG fire for sops to Reliance Power

Environment ministry draws CAG fire for sops to Reliance Power

CAG pointed out that environment ministry did not exercise due diligence in ensuring compliance with conditions of the Forest Act while giving relief to Reliance Power
 
NEW DELHI: The CAG has pulled up the Union environment ministry for extending undue favour to Reliance Power-owned Sasan Power Limited (SPL) in Madhya Pradesh and pointed to a string of separate cases where there is evidence of a nexus between corporate houses and officials in other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Jharkhand. 

In its report — tabled in Parliament on Friday — the CAG noted that the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) had exempted Reliance Power Limited (RPL) in 2009 from providing non-forest land to the tune of 1,384.96 hectares. 

RPL had to provide non-forest land to the government for compensatory afforestation in lieu of the forest land it was supposed to use for its Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) for setting up power plant and coal mining project. 

Under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, whenever forest land is to be diverted for non-forestry purpose, user agencies have to provide equivalent non-forest land for carrying out compensatory afforestation.

CAG, however, pointed out that MoEF did not exercise due diligence in ensuring compliance with conditions of the Forest Act while giving relief to RPL. 

SPL, a special purpose vehicle created for development of Sasan UMPP, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Power Finance Corporation (PFC) but it was transferred to RPL in August, 2007 – much before the MoEF had given its nod. 

RPL, however, denied the charge and termed the government auditor’s findings as “misplaced and bereft of facts”. 

The company’s spokesperson said, “Any increase in cost incurred on acquiring non-forest land for compensatory afforestation would have increased the cost of the project which in line with the bidding conditions has to be borne by the power procurers from various states. This would have led to higher tariff for the power generated from the Sasan UMPP, which would eventually be borne by the consumer. 

“Therefore exempting Sasan from acquiring non-forest land has in no way benefited or extended any undue favour as alleged by CAG to SPL. Instead the benefit has accrued to the over 35 crore consumers across seven states who are the ultimate beneficiary of low-cost power from the Sasan UMPP.” 

The top federal auditor noted that the MP chief secretary had issued a certificate of non-availability of non-forest land in Sidhi district instead of a certificate of non-availability of non-forest land for the entire state. 

“Based on this ineligible certificate issued by the chief secretary, the MoEF exempted Sasan Power Limited from providing non-forest land of 1384.96 hectare in case of Ultra Mega Power Project and for the coal mining project in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,” CAG said. 

It, however, noted that MoEF had subsequently insisted for compensatory afforestation over the non-forest land in latest project of the same company in nearby location in MP, which clearly illustrates that in earlier cases undue favour were extended to SPL. 

CAG also pointed out that the UP government showed similar generosity when it handed over forest land to the JP Associates Limited for non-forest use like establishment of cement plant, mining and other allied activities. 

The auditor claimed that the state government had in August 2007 changed the status of Reserve Forest land measuring 1,083.23 hectare in Sonbhadra district as revenue land without prior approval of MoEF in contravention of the conservation Act and handed over the land to the company. 

Similarly, CAG said, MoEF and Goa government were both complicit in extending favours to Elray Minerals & Company. Despite an adverse inspection report from regional office, the ministry had in August, 2006, approved diversion of 17.84 hectare of forest land to the company with the condition of providing of non-forest land to the extent of 4.86 hectares along with other general conditions. 

Later, the ministry modified its in-principle approval in August 2008 and exempted the firm from providing any non-forest land.

Sasan can’t take off without providing additional land

Sasan can’t take off without providing additional land

,TNN | Nov 28, 2013, 05.01 AM IST BHOPAL: The controversial Reliance Power-owned Sasan Power Limited (SPL) in Madhya Pradesh (MP) may see more trouble as they may have to provide 1384.96 hectare of non-forest land, for which it was granted exemption following a certificate of non-availability of land issued by the then chief secretary of the state in 2009.

SPL will have to provide land as per the new Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) guidelines, said a senior officer in the state forest department wishing anonymity. “We have not received any official communication in this matter,” he said.

State forest department has shot off a letter to MoEF seeking status of the guidelines. The ministry had promised for new guidelines after being pulled up by the CAG for extending “undue favours” to SPL. The letter was sent by the land records section of the forest department recently, said sources.

When contacted principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) Anil Oberoi said that he is in Delhi and will discuss the matter with higher-ups in MoEF.

SPL, a special purpose vehicle created for development of Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Power FinanceCorporation (PFC). In August 2007 it was transferred to Reliance Power Limited.

In its recent report on Compensatory Afforestation in India, CAG said that SPL, according to guidelines and clarifications for diversion of forest lands for non-forest purpose under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, had to provide equivalent area of 1384.96 hectare of non-forest land for the compensatory afforestation.

But, the former chief secretary had issued a certificate of non-availability of non-forest land in Sidhi district instead of a certificate of non-availability of non-forest land for the entire state.

“Based on this ineligible certificate issued by the chief secretary, the ministry ‘exempted’ Sasan Power Limited from providing non-forest land of 1384.96 hectare in case of Ultra Mega Power Project and for the coal mining project in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,” reads the CAG report, which highlighted “deficiencies” in permitting diversion of forest land in the state.

“Not only did the ministry not exercise due diligence in ensuring compliance with conditions it also inexplicably overlooked the deficiencies in the certificate pointed out by a subordinate authority in the ministry while granting exemption in the instant case,” CAG noted.

CAG mentioned, “The MoEF had insisted for compensatory afforestation over the non-forest land in latest project of the same company in nearby location in Madhya Pradesh, which clearly illustrates that in earlier two cases undue favour was extended to M/s Sasan Power Limited.”