According to reports, a wind mill project that was started without forest clearance cost NMDC, the country’s top iron more miner, Rs 78.75 crore due to idle investment and non-realisation of revenue, the government auditor has said.
“Failure to secure forest clearance led to idling of the entire investment of Rs 65.55 crore made on wind energy farm for over 24 months and consequential non-realisation of revenue of Rs 13.2 crore,” the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said in a report.
NMDC had decided in 2006 to set up a wind farm in Karnataka, from which power would be fed into the state grid and banked as per the requirements of its Donimalai iron ore project. It engaged Suzlon Energy for the project, which was commissioned by March 2009 with a total installed capacity of 10.5 MW.
Operations had to be halted after officials said there was no approval for linking the project with the grid using transmission lines passing through the Jogimatti Reserved Forest in Chitradurga district.
The government auditor said though state-run NMDC had engaged Suzlon Energy to execute the project, it failed to ensure that the implementing agency obtained statutory approvals from the forest authorities.
NMDC failed in exercising due diligence, leading to 338.35 lakh units of power not getting generated and consequential non-realisation of revenue due to stoppage of generation from October 2010 to September 2012, CAG said.
The auditor said NMDC is trying to re-route the lines. The matter is still pending as laying of lines in a reserved forest requires prior approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.