Odisha ultra mega power project gets green nod

The union ministry of environment and forests has given the green signal for the 4000 MW Bedabahal ultra mega power project (UMPP) in Odisha, clearing the road for the power ministry to award the project.

"We have got clearance for the Odisha UMPP. This would be the fifth UMPP that we would award in the past five years," Sushil Kumar Shinde, union minister for power, said at press conference in New Delhi.

With the environment ministry continuing to soften its stand on environmental clearance for large projects, the power minister said he is hopeful of receiving the documents from the environment ministry soon.

Two of the three coal blocks associated with the Bedabahal UMPP - Meenakshi B and the 'dipside' of Meenakshi - had fallen in 'no go' areas, where the environment ministry had barred any mining activity.

This had led Power Finance Corporation, the nodal agency for implementation of UMPPs in the country, to postpone the process of inviting preliminary bids to next month - the seventh time bidding process for the project has had to be put off.

However, the environment ministry has said that only two projects could mine for coal from the blocks, categorised as no-go area. If the government proceeds with Bedabahal, either an NTPC project or an Odisha government project will not get coal.