The Centre’s green panel has deferred its decision on granting environment clearance to NTPC’s ₹17,820-crore super thermal project in Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, for want of more information and clearance from the wildlife authorities.

State-run NTPC proposes to set up the first stage of ‘Barethi Super Thermal Power Project’ with 2,640 MW capacity in Chhatarpur. The coal requirement of 12 million tonnes a year would be met from Banai coal mine block of Mand Raigarh located in Chhattisgarh.

More info sought

The proposal was discussed in the recent meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Environment Ministry.

“After detailed deliberation, the EAC has sought additional information and documents. Accordingly, it deferred the decision on the proposal,” a source said.

Considering the scale of the project and proximity to the Panna Tiger Reserve and the contiguous forest, the panel has asked NTPC to get clearance and comments from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and the ministry to take comments from its wildlife department, it said.

Impact on river

The EAC has also pointed out that the company’s contention that there would be no impact on the Ken river is not tenable, since both the dams that will cater to the project’s water requirement are fed by the river, the source added.

Since the site is ecologically sensitive, the EAC has recommended that no further expansion of the project may be permitted in future at the site.

The company has been asked to elaborate the hydro-geological study. It has also been asked to submit the impact of fugitive emissions as well as impact on the aquatic flora and fauna.

Revised plant layout

The expert panel has asked NTPC to submit the revised plant layout with 33 per cent green belt of the project area with focus towards Khajurao and Panna Tiger Reserve, it added.

It has been directed to start immediately the plantation along the periphery areas so that some green cover is available by the time the plant becomes operational.