Tag Archives: Jharsuguda News

Six Coal India projects have got stalled

Six Coal India projects have got stalled, with state governments not processing the proposals for forest clearance and not launching prosecution against company officials involved in violation of environmental laws at the project sites.

Coal mining projects require two types of green nods to start operations — forest and environmental clearance. The forest clearance is initiated and sent by the state government to the Centre for evaluation while the environmental clearance is submitted by the project proponent directly to the Centre. But a Supreme Court order has made it mandatory for project developers to secure a forest clearance as a pre-condition to getting the environmental clearance in cases where forest land is involved.

An internal stock taking of the environment ministry has revealed that six coal projects have got stuck as the states are yet to forward the forest clearances.

Two key cases for which Coal India Limited has been seeking speedy clearances cannot be cleared until the state governments take action against officials of the companies involved in violations earlier. Under existing regulations, projects can only get final nod in cases where violations have happened if the state governments first start criminal proceedings against the officers for such violations.

Sources in the ministry said “credible action” against officials who had violated the norms remained pending in the Lajkura Expansion Phase 1 and Belpahar Expansion both falling in Jharsuguda, Odisha. The forest clearance proposal from the states is also awaited for both projects.

The other projects for which forest clearance proposals from the state are pending include the 2.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) project of expansion of Tetariakhar, Ananta, Hingula and Lakhanpur coal blocks.

Ministry officials said these projects can only get the final nod once the forest clearance proposals are received and assessed at the Centre.

House panel skips major issues in Sambalpur

The House panel completed its visit to the district headquarters hospital in just 30 minutes, passing some instructions to the hospital authorities, works department and the CDMO.

It held a review meeting regarding the developmental works of the district. All the line officers, including district Collector Pradeep Kumar Rath and SP Nikhil Kanodia were present.

It had been expected that there would be a serious discussion on utter negligence in the health sector, but nothing of the sort happened. The committee headed by MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal completed the review within 45 minutes and left for Jharsuguda.

It had been expected that there would be hot discussions on different subjects, including procurement of paddy and PDS. But the issues were skipped. However, during the period, the members asked the officials to make full utilisation of the budget provided for the purpose by March.

Discussions were also made on four-laning of the Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway 10, reconstruction of Jhulenpali bridge in Jamankira-Kuchinda road, construction of stadium at Kuchinda and PMGSY roads, among others.

4-year-old boy rescued at Jharsuguda

Acting promptly on a complaint, police rescued a four-year-old boy and nabbed his kidnapper from Jharsuguda on Tuesday evening. The accused, Sunil Sawant, was produced in court on Wednesday.

Reports said the boy was found missing after school on Tuesday. His mother, Laxmi, had gone to pick him up but was told that he had left with an acquaintance. Before she could lodge a complaint with police, Sunil called asking her to return the money she had borrowed from him. Laxmi knew Sunil, a resident of sector 3, through a common friend.

She immediately lodged a complaint in Bondamunda police station and the police tracked the call to Jharsuguda. Plain-clothes cops nabbed Sunil at Jharsuguda police station and rescued the boy.

“Considering the urgency of the case, police began the investigation even before receiving a written complaint,” said additional SP (Rourkela) Sudersan Sethi.

At last flight service started to Jharsuguda

Firing at GolebazarThe state government received a shot in the arm over its long pending demand to accord international tag for Biju Patnaik Airport here following Air Odisha Aviation introduced its flight services in the state on Friday.

The air service, in the first phase will be available for Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda and Rourkela which in a later stage will be extended to some major industrial hubs of the state, according to company officials.  Odisha-based Air Odisha is also mulling to extend the flight services to Vizag and Tirupati, looking at the increasing demand among passengers.

On Friday the 9-seated aircraft took off from Bhubaneswar airport at 9:45am and landed at the Durlaga airport in Jharsuguda taking a flying time of nearly one hour. The flight service was flagged off by state Tourism and Culture minister Maheswar Mohanty. According to Air Odisha officials, the daily flight from Bhubaneswar to Rourkela via Jharsuguda will be later extended to Raipur.

The state is planning to develop at least five greenfield airports, at upcoming industrial centres like Paradip, Dhamra, Angul, Kalinganagar and Rayagada. Moreover, it has also proposed to upgrade existing airstrips at Gopalpur, Jharsuguda, Jeypore, Barbil and Rourkela.

Road proposal for four-laning of Sambalpur-Jharsuguda has been approved

The Odisha government is poised to ink a pact with International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private arm of World Bank, to avail IFC’s technical expertise for projects to be implemented on the public private partnership (PPP) mode.

“We are going to sign a technical cooperation agreement with IFC for PPP projects. The state government is keen to gain from IFC’s technical expertise which we feel will be useful for implementing PPP projects. Tourism, agri-business and solar power have been identified as the key areas where IFC is expected to provide its technical knowhow”, said a highly placed official source.

During his visit to Odisha in March this year, World Bank Group president, Robert B Zoellick pointed out that IFC was keen on adding agro business to its portfolio of cooperation with the state. The World Bank had identified environment, social sustainability, mining and natural resources as the future areas of focus in Odisha.

The World Bank was financing projects worth over Rs 3000 crore in the state.

Meanwhile, the state government is in the process of reviewing its PPP projects.

“There are some PPP projects which have not made headway due to problems like lack of viability, pending land acquisition and environment as well as forestry clearances. Some of these projects facing an inordinate delay may also have to be dropped. But nothing can be disclosed now as all PPP projects are set to reassessed”, said a senior official of Planning & Coordination department.

The state government has approved 37 projects on the public private partnership (PPP) mode between April 2009 and March 2012.

The approved projects are in sectors like ports, real estate, food processing and tourism.

In the ports sector, the state government has approved the establishment of a minor port at Astaranga in Puri district by Hyderabad-based Navyug Engineering Ltd. The initial port capacity is pegged at 25 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) with the port taken up a cost of Rs 7417 crore. The port capacity will be eventually scaled up to 70 mtpa.

In the real estate sector, the state government has approved six integrated residential cum commercial complexes to be developed in the outskirts of the city with cost of all projects totaling to Rs 1400 crore. Project developers include Vipul Ltd, Z Engineers Ltd, Tata Housing, Utkal Builders, Delhi-based Amrapali Ltd and Visakhapatnam-based Skyland Construction Ltd.

A mega food park project proposed at Rayagada at a cost of Rs 80.17 crore has also been approved by the state government. A special purpose vehicle has been formed between Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) and MITS Mega Food Park Ltd.

On the PPP mode, the four-laning of Sambalpur-Jharsuguda road, entailing a cost of Rs 1292.56 crore has been approved. Bidding process for this project would be initiated after obtaining in-principle approval from the Government of India for Viability Gap Funding (VGF).