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BJP Bats For Project

For the first time, the opposition BJP today stalled proceeding of the Odisha Assembly over an investment project.


The saffron party members in the Assembly registered a noisy protest over non-clearance of a power project proposed to be set up by NTPC at an investment of Rs 9875 crore.
As soon as the Question Hour started, the saffron party MLAs rushed to the Well of the House, protesting the state government's delay in clearing an NTPC project at Talcher, the application for which was filed 15 months ago.
The legislators also did not hesitate to raise question on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s intention to attend an investment meet at New Delhi.
Unable to run the House, Speaker P K Amat adjourned the proceedings for an hour till 11.30am.
When the House reassembled, BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo said the state may lose a big-ticket investment if the Rs 9875-crore project is not cleared soon.
However, the real reason behind BJP’s noise was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Talcher on September 22 and he may lay foundation stone for the power project if it gets clearance from the state government's high-level clearance committee (HLC), headed by Patnaik.
But, there is uncertainty over the PM laying foundation stone for the project as the state government has not so far cleared it.
This is not all, senior BJP leader and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also dashed a letter to the Chief Minister and sought speedy approval of the project.
"The non-clearance of the big-ticket investment even after 15 months will dampen the business climate in Odisha and send a wrong signal to the investors' community," Mr.Pradhan wrote to Mr.Patnaik
Noting that NTPC has a huge presence in the state and its projects, both ongoing and proposed taken together, amounted to Rs 24,000 crore, Pradhan said the state-of-the-art power plant at Talcher has already obtained water, environmental and other statutory clearances.
"The NTPC plant is awaiting approval of the HLC even after applying online for Single Window Clearance in April, last year," Mr.Pradhan stated in his letter.
Mr.Pradhan said the power project, once executed, is likely to slash electricity tariff because of easy availability of coal and use of latest technology.
The Union Minister also cautioned the state government that the proposed project is critical for the people of the area as the existing power generating units at the site might find themselves on the wrong side of the stringent environmental norms.


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