Mega power project in M'lore likely to be split

Karnataka’s ambitious Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) is likely to be spread over three or four locations in Mangalore due to hurdles in large scale acquisition of land.

Previously proposed to be set up at Niddodi in Mangalore taluk, the UMPP has been opposed by the locals who are said to be sceptical about the State government and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) which had failed to keep their promises of rehabilitation of the displaced residents whose land were taken away for similar ventures earlier in the coastal belt.

According to government sources, preliminary estimates suggest that the UMPP requires at least 1,500-2,000 acres of land. As per the revised plan, it is likely to be proposed to the Central Energy Authority for setting up smaller and specific units within the same vicinity of Mangalore taluk to have the UMPP functioning. Presently, the KIADB has acquired 300 to 400 acres for the project. The Board is also ready to transfer to UMPP other land banks it had acquired for industries in the region.

The Energy department and the State do not want to suggest alternative land elsewhere in the State on account of the non-availability of coal reserves for the project. Mangalore being a port, the procurement of imported or domestic coal is easy.

At the other end, the nearest UMPP project, which has been approved for Reliance Power, is entangled in a litigation in Andhra Pradesh. Reliance has decided to approach the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for increasing the power tariff due to the high capital investment towards procuring imported coal, sources said. Under the power purchase agreement, Karnataka is scheduled to receive 800MW from that project.

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