Centre to tweak coastal regulation laws for gas-based power plant at Andaman & Nicobar Islands


By Nivedita Khandekar New Delhi, Nov 23 : The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has decided to tweak one of its own laws, rather two connected regulations, to allow a gas-based power plant at the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The draft notification has sought objections and suggestions on changes made under the Island Protection Zone (IZP) and Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ) for the power plant. There have been discussions about the power plant that will work on "dual fuel technology i.e., through Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or High-Speed Diesel (HSD)" or single fuel (LNG). The plant is to be located at "about two acres of undulated barren land having irregular topography with elevation of 2 m above MSL exists along the seashore". The project site is located in Hope Town at Ferrargunj tehsil in South Andaman district. The MoEF&CC had issued the notification regarding Island Protection Zone (IPZ) in January 2011 whereby certain coastal stretches were declared as Coastal Regulation Zone and restrictions were imposed on setting up and expansion of industries, operations, and processes in that area. Similar were the restrictions under the March 2019 notification vis-A-vis Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ), especially for places such as the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Ministry records show that when the Centre received a proposal from the Andaman and Nicobar Coastal Zone Management Authority (ANCZMA) regarding inclusion of Gas-based power plant within the ICRZ area under the provisions of the IPZ Notification 2011, the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) in its meeting on August 16 "felt that there is a need to provide an enabling provision in the IPZ/ICRZ notification to meet the energy requirement of the islanders while reducing the dependency on highly polluting sources such as conventional diesel generators (DG sets)". The two separate draft notifications point out two things. The Ministry claimed that the NCZMA, after due deliberations, had recommended that inclusion of Gas-based power plant within ICRZ III area between 200-500 metres and inclusion of the power plant within ICRZ area only in islands with geographical areas > 100 sq metres needed consideration. Therefore, the first notification has suggested an amendment to include/insert 'Setting up of Gas based power plant' as one of the activities that is allowed in CRZ III area while the second one seeks to insert 'Setting up of Gas based power plant in islands with geographical areas > 100 sq kms'. The draft notification was published on November 18 and has asked members of the public to send in objections or suggestions within 60 days. (Nivedita Khandekar can be reached at Nivedita.k@ians.in) /IANS


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