Surplus power in India: Now heavy users to pay lower tariffs

NEW DELHI: Major reforms of power tariffs are on the horizon as an official committee has recommended lower tariffs for heavy users to encourage electricity consumption as the country moves from a deficit to surplus situation. In India, power consumers have always been paying higher bills for higher consumption. Slabs are fixed and if you fall in the higher consumption range, you pay more. It's time the country doles out incentives for high power consumption, a committee constituted to advise the government on ways to increase electricity demand has said.

"The present tariff structure has been designed for power shortage scenario in states and has not been changed since Independence. Since India has excess electricity generation capacity now, the existing framework needs to be changed to address the capacity generation glut,” said a member of the committee constituted by the power ministry in September last year to suggest innovative schemes for raising power demand.

The committee comprises of chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, secretary of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), president of industry body Ficci, energy secretaries of Bihar and Tamil Nadu and principal energy secretaries of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The committee is in the process of finalising its report and is likely to present it to the power ministry by January-end.

The official said the committee is of the view that to boost electricity demand, rebates and incentives in electricity bills be extended to consumers.

The state electricity regulatory commissions should revise the tariff design for all consumers, particularly industry, commercial and service sectors, the official said.

Presently, consumers are penalised by way of higher tariffs for higher consumption.

The committee also opines in the draft report that more states can offer power at lower rates to industries during night and off-peak hours. Such system of differential tariff is in place in some states and Madhya Pradesh has seen increase in power consumption. The committee has also explored other short term and long term options for enhancing power consumption.

These include promoting manufacturing under Make in India through electricity assurance, encouraging use of electric vehicles and electric equipment in construction activities.

ET on December 25 reported that the government planned to introduce a new tariff structure to charge more from large domestic power consumers rather than industrial units that currently share the cross subsidy burden. Most states categorise households consuming more than 800 units of power a month as large domestic consumers.

http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/surplus-power-in-india-now-heavy-users-to-pay-lower-tariffs/56533326

Environment clearance for Arossim (Goa) resort quashed

 

 

 

VASCO

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Western Zone Bench have quashed the amendment granting environment clearance to the 226 roomed, starred beach resort at Arossim seashore near Cansaulim which was proposed in the eco fragile area.

The Cansaulim-Arossim-Cuelim Civic and Consumer Forum and Cansaulim villagers Action Committee had filed an appeal in the NGT.

The village Panchayat of Cansaulim-Arossim-Cuelim had earlier returned the file seeking construction licence for the starred beach resort saying the file was incomplete and has no Environmental Clearance.

The CACCF vice president Dr Marconi Correia said that the villagers of Cansaulim Arossim Cuelim stand vindicated as they were aware of the norms which was not followed while granting the Environmental Clearance to the project in an eco fragile area wherein the rainstorm channels of the village meet the Arabian Sea.

 

http://epaper.navhindtimes.in/NewsDetail.aspx?storyid=6774&date=2017-01-11&pageid=1

Forest Diversion for Small as well as Large Linear Projects – Action Shifts from Centre to Region

 

 

 

Regional Empowered Committee (REC), Lucknow comprising of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and UT of Delhi at the Regional Office of the MoEF&CC is considering Forest Diversion of 463 ha proposed for diversion in 12 projects on 5 January 2017. Incidentally all the 12 proposals are for Linear projects (e.g. new roads, widening of existing highways, transmission lines, water supply lines, optical fibre cabling, railway lines etc).

 

RECs have been constituted at each of the 10 Regional Offices of the MoEF&CC under Chairmanship of the Head of the Regional Office, and having two officials of the Regional Office and three non- official experts in forestry and allied disciplines as members.

 

REC is competent to approve or reject proposals involving diversion of forest area above 5 hectares and up to 40 ha, except the proposals for regularization of encroachments, mining (including renewal of mining leases) and hydel projects.

 

REC has expanded power in case of linear projects. It looks at all linear proposals for diversion of more than 5 ha of forest land, even if it involves more than 40 ha forest land, which was not the case earlier.

 

For example, one Kanpur - Allahabad NH 2 proposal involving 89 ha of forest land is under consideration.

 

Ministry has been liberalizing rules for forest diversion for linear projects for quite some time, more so during NDA rule. Time and again, certain road projects have been allowed exemption from requirement of some processes of environmental clearance e.g. scoping  (assignment of terms of reference for environmental study), Public Consultation (to know the views of impacted people) etc. 

 

Ministry has diluted requirement of the Forest Right Act for such projects by issuing an OM dated 5 February 2013. It outlined that an inter-ministerial committee has ‘recommended that a resolution of the Gram Sabha of the area, based on full and prior information of the project and a public hearing, endorsing that the project is in the interest of the people living on the forest land, use of which is proposed to be diverted for non-forest purposes may not required’ for linear projects.

In context of simplification of procedure for grant of permission for felling of trees standing on forest land to be diverted for execution of linear projects e.g. new roads, widening of existing highways, transmission lines, water supply lines, optical fibre cabling, railway lines etc, MoEF&CC issued an order providing directions and guidelines. The order dated 28 August 2015 provides for the in- principle approval (stage I clearance) to be deemed as working permission for tree cutting and commencement of work after fulfilling some conditions. Earlier, such permission used to be given after completion of all pre- project implementation conditions and issue of stage II approval by Central Government and final approval of the state government. Now to expedite work, these clearances can be obtained later.

 

No doubt, more than 500 road proposals have been granted Forest Clearances in two years after 15th July 2014 all over the country.

 

 

Sector wise proposed Diversion

 

Sr No

Sector

Area

%Area

Proposals

%Proposals

1

Linear Project-Pipeline

8.36

1.80

1

8.33

2

Linear Project-Road

394.21

85.07

8

66.67

3

Linear Projects -Transmission line

18.75

4.05

2

16.67

4

Linear Projects-Railway

42.06

9.08

1

8.33

-

Total

463.38

100.00

12

100.00

 

 

 

 

State wise area proposed for diversion

 

Sr No

State

Sector

Area

%Area

Proposals

%Proposals

1

Uttar Pradesh

Linear Project-Pipeline

8.3581

1.80

1

8.33

2

Uttar Pradesh

Linear Project-Road

394.212

85.07

8

66.67

3

Rajasthan

Linear Projects -Transmission line

18.75

4.05

2

16.67

4

Rajasthan

Linear Projects-Railway

42.06

9.08

1

8.33

-

-

Total

463.3801

100.00

12

100.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposals under Consideration

 

SI No.

Name of the Proposal / Agenda Item

State

Area (ha)

Category

1

Kanpur - Allahabad NH 2

Uttar Pradesh

88.94

Linear Project-Road

2

SH 510

Uttar Pradesh

63.2

Linear Project-Road

3

NH76

Uttar Pradesh

27.23

Linear Project-Road

4

SH 93

Uttar Pradesh

57.098

Linear Project-Road

5

MDR 81 C

Uttar Pradesh

23.458

Linear Project-Road

6

Old GT Road

Uttar Pradesh

17.626

Linear Project-Road

7

2x660 TPP water pipeline

Uttar Pradesh

8.3581

Linear Project-Pipeline

8

NH 93

Uttar Pradesh

58.26

Linear Project-Road

9

NH 42

Uttar Pradesh

58.4

Linear Project-Road

10

220 KV Ajmer Chitorgarh Transmission line

Rajasthan

9.002

Linear Projects-Transmission line

11

132 KV Nimbahera Vijaypur Transmission line

Rajasthan

9.7559

Linear Projects-Transmission line

12

Thaiyat Hamira New railway line

Rajasthan

42.06

Linear Projects-Railway

 

 

 

463.39

 

 

Analysis by

 

Pushp Jain & Terence Jorge

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC)

New Delhi - 110 048. India

 

NGT expresses displeasure with MoEF for exempting real estate from environmental clearances, says ‘why do you do these funny things’

National Green Tribunal (NGT) today expressed displeasure with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for its new notification which exempts real estate developers from obtaining prior Environmental Clearance (EC). The green court has also restrained it from granting fresh permissions for costruction under the new regulation. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also sent a warning to MoEF saying, “You can’t do legal blunders and get away with it”.

MoEF’s new notification published on December 9, last year exempts buildings and construction projects of all sizes from the process of environment impact assessment (EIA) and prior environmental clearance before beginning construction. NGT has came down heavily on MoEF for not ‘applying its mind’ while making amendments on the notification.

For smaller projects (less than 20,000 sq metres), it even has a “self-declaration” clause, which will ensure issuance of permission from urban local bodies. For larger projects of more than 20,000 sq m size, the EC and building permission will be given by urban local bodies simultaneously in an “integrated format”.

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/ngt-expresses-displeasure-with-moef-for-exempting-real-estate-from-environmental-clearances-says-why-do-you-do-these-funny-things/497783/

Environmentalist says ministry deliberately delaying release of FAC agenda

Environmentalist says ministry deliberately delaying release of FAC agenda

Nagpur: The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) is delaying putting the agenda of forest land diversion projects in public domain ostensibly to quell opposition from various quarters.

On December 26, the FAC considered diversion of 4,377 hectare forest land, a majority of it for mining projects. However, the meeting's agenda was shared on December 20.

FAC considered the projects which included the diversion of 3,952 hectare forest land for mining alone in Maharashtra (153ha), Chhattisgarh (1,294ha), Odisha (2,355ha), and Rajasthan (149ha), while the remaining area was for wind power and other projects. The minutes of the meeting is not released yet.

Pushp Jain, director of EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC), alleged there are serious delays in sharing FAC agenda.

"The meeting was on December 26, but the agenda was shared only 6 days before that. This is ostensibly being done to ensure there is no opposition," Jain said.

Delhi-based ERC keeps watch on Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) processes and ensures that impact of developmental activities on India's environment and communities is properly accessed and accounted for.

Jain said of the total 4,377 hectares, maximum diversion is proposed for mining amounting to 90% (3,952ha). Odisha leads among states with maximum diversion proposed followed by Chhattisgarh.

Out of the 27 projects, 20 have been considered for review. The remaining seven projects are already granted stage I & II clearance and appeared for issues to be sorted out.

Jain says there were several problems with this agenda. There were 25 proposals but documents links were given for 4 proposals only. The title of proposals were incomplete and there was no mention whether it is a renewal of lease or stage I or II clearance already granted or a new proposal.

ERC said the agenda do have links to documents but titles of the proposals on the face of it are not clear. There were 25 proposals but two more were added on time, which means 27 proposals were discussed in one day.

Earlier too the ministry had announced FAC meeting for December 12 without the agenda being made available. The ERC strongly protested against it and pointed out to MoEFCC that ERC has not carried out rapid review of some proposals on agenda and hence is unable present issues and suggestions for consideration.

"This seems to be mischievous. Finally, due to representation by ERC and probably pressure from some independent members, better sense prevailed and MoEFCC postponed the meeting to December 26," says Jain.
Environmentalists, who did not want to be quoted, said this shows how the BJP government at the Centre is in a tearing hurry to clear detrimental projects. Of the late it is frequently happening that FAC agenda is not being put up in public domain.
 

 

ERC representatives said for earlier meeting on November 9-10, 2016, the agenda was put in public domain on November 5. Secondly, new proposals were quietly added to the agenda subsequently on November 7.
 

 

Conservationists said members of FAC should protest this attitude of the MoEFCC on ethical and moral grounds and demand action against officials responsible for the mess.
 

 

"Ideally, agenda of the meeting should be uploaded at least 10 days in advance with relevant documents made available," says Jain.