Gas-based power plants to be allowed in coastal regulation zone in Andaman & Nicobar Islands | India News

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NEW DELHI: Seeking to meet energy requirements of the islanders while reducing the dependency of Andaman & Nicobar Islands on highly polluting diesel-based power generation, the Centre has proposed allowing gas-based power plants within ‘Island Coastal Regulation Zone‘ in bigger islands with geographical areas of more than 100 sq. km.
The environment ministry has, to this effect, issued two draft notifications. Final decision would be taken on this after mid-January next year after analysing suggestions and views of stakeholders including environmentalists and local residents in the next two months.
Besides providing cleaner energy to islanders at a low cost, the move also assumes significance in view of India’s attempt to augment its strategic capabilities by improving infrastructure in the region against the backdrop of China’s ‘One Belt One Road initiative’ and its naval outreach.
The ministry had in 2019 notified the Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ), declaring certain coastal stretches as ‘Coastal Regulation Zone’ and imposing restrictions on setting up and expanding industries, operations, and processes within such protected zones. Similarly, the Island Protection Zone (IPZ) notification of 2011 too has provisions, restricting such activities within the protected areas.
“The Andaman and Nicobar Coastal Zone Management Authority, however, requested the ministry regarding the inclusion of gas-based power plants within the ICRZ area. Even the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) in its meeting, held in August, had felt its need, and recommended an enabling provision in the IPZ and the ICRZ Notifications,” said an official.
Acting on the recommendation of NCZMA, the ministry on November 18 issued two separate notifications – one for amending the IPZ notification, 2011 and the other for amending the ICRZ notification, 2019 – proposing “setting up of gas-based power plant in islands with geographical areas greater than 100 sq. km” as permissible activities with certain necessary regulation.
“Once it will formally be notified, the power utility company NTPC or others would be able to expand their operations in the IPZ and the ICRZ in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The mover will eventually boost the energy requirement of the UT which is strategically quite important for the country,” said the official.





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