Hopes to begin generation by June or early July

The Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC), which is working on a war-footing for the commissioning of first phase (1,000-Mw) of Kudankulam nuclear project, has achieved yet another milestone. The state-run entity responsible for the generation of nuclear power for electricity has completed the prerequisites for opening the reactor pressure vessel.

In yet another push for granting open access to all electricity consumers with power requirement of 1 Mw and above, the power ministry, exercising its power under section 107 of the Electricity Act, 2003, has issued directives to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) stating that regulators have no jurisdiction to decide energy charges for such consumers.

The ministry resorted to this move after it observed that regulators had not taken seriously its letter of November 30, 2011, in this regard, and instead have either determined the energy charges or are in the process of determining the charges.

To attract investments, Maharashtra has rolled out a red carpet for the Gujarat textile sector. State textile minister Naseem Khan plans to lead a high level delegation to Ahmedabad in May to ask the textile industry in Gujarat to invest in Maharashtra in order to take the benefit of the newly released textile policy and the sops offered for development of textile parks in the state.

Maharashtra textile policy offers a 10 per cent capital subsidy for new textile projects in Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra, and 12.5 per cent interest subsidy on long-term loans linked to centrally-sponsored Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme for new projects.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has accepted coal-based power producers’ demand for a parallel processing of environment and forest clearances, instead of sequential clearances. This would help power producers secure these clearances early.

The MoEF’s decision, made last week, is expected to fast-track clearances to complete the proposed power capacity addition of 62,000 Mw of the total 75,000 Mw based on coal during the 12th five-year plan. The ministry’s April 19 office memorandum also comes at a time when Coal India has agreed to sign a fuel supply agreement with power producers.

Pending applications surge across categories, in breach of rules for disposal

The central government, in a bid to bring in transparency and accountability in the mining sector, has asked states to scrupulously ensure timely renewal of leases as prescribed under Rule 24A of the Minerals Concession Rules (MCR).

Maharashtra government has agreed to release 2 thousand million cubic metres (TCM) of water from Dudhganga and Warna rivers to the border districts of Karnataka till the monsoon. In return, Karnataka would do necessary arrangement for the release of Almati backwater which can help overcome prevailing scarcity in Jat taluka of Sangli district in western Maharashtra. These decisions were taken at the meeting between the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and a delegation of Karnataka ministers comprising agriculture minister Umesh Katti and industries minister Murugesh Nirani.

Move triggered by earthquake of 8.9 magnitude that has been felt in Indonesia

The state-run Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) would soon shut down the two units each of 220 MW at the Kalpakaam nuclear project. The step has been taken as a precautionary measure in the wake of a tsunami warning issued by Indonesia after a quake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.9 hit waters off westernmost Aceh province.

Biomass-based power producers, with an installed capacity of 2,664 Mw, have made a strong pitch for according priority sector status on the lines of agro sector. These producers have also appealed to the Centre to launch biomass mission on the lines of solar mission to attract more investments.

They have also brought to the notice of the Centre that a large number of biomass-based power projects were lying idle or running below capacity due to low tariff, which ranges between Rs 2.80 per unit in Kerala and Rs 5.53 per unit in Jharkhand.

The Union government will have to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, to divest its stakes in the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) which is engaged in increasing its capacity addition to 63,000 Mw by 2032 from the present 4,780 Mw. The state-owned entity’s authorised capital is Rs 15,000 crore, while the share capital is worth Rs 10,000 crore.

According to the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, a government company is one where the central government holds not less than 51 per cent of the paid-up share capital.

There is good news for electricity consumers from the south of Mumbai as they will now get to choose their power supplier. Instead of simply relying on the BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), an arm of the local civic authority BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, for power supply, they can now approach Tata Power.