The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests has turned down a request by the GMR Group to extend the validity for preparing terms of reference for a hydel power project being set up in Arunachal Pradesh.
The EAC, while refusing to extend the validity of the terms of reference (ToR), also suggested the company to hold a public meeting before August 2014.
"The EAC noted that the extension of the ToR validity is up to August 9, 2014, and there are no convincing reasons to consider the case for extension of the validity of ToR for the project at this stage.
"There is sufficient time to hold public hearing by APSPCB (Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board) before August 2014. Therefore, the committee did not consider the case fit for extension of the validity of ToR at this juncture for Talong HEP (225 MW) in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh," the EAC had said in the minutes of meeting held last month.
When contacted a senior official of GMR said they are now gearing up to participate in the public hearing within the expiry of the validity of ToR.
The Arunachal Pradesh Government will have to fix the date for the public hearing and subsequently inform the public about the same, the official added.
The ToR for Talong project was accorded in 2010 with two years initial validity period that ended in 2012. The MoEF subsequently granted one year extension for ToR which again expired in August 2013. Thereafter, the ministry granted further extension of one year to facilitate the submission of EIA/EMP reports, which ends by August 2014.
"The project proponent (GMR) submitted a request for extension of the validity of ToR for one more year with reasons that there is a delay in conducting public hearing by Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board. The delay is reportedly due to model code of conduct in Arunachal Pradesh because of general elections in the country," the EAC said.
The project to be executed by GMR Londa Hydro Power Pvt Ltd is estimated to cost over Rs 2,000 crore and envisages setting up of 225 MW (35 MW). GLHPPL had submitted the report to CEA in May 2013.
The project will be funded through a debt-equity ratio of 70:30, wherein the equity will come through the internal resources of GMR.
The group is currently in the process of developing over 2,200-MW capacity hydel power projects, including 1,500 MW in Nepal.