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The Odisha Assembly was adjourned for an hour Tuesday as BJP MLAs resorted to a noisy protest over non-clearance of a power project.
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 sought to know the benefits of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's scheduled tour to New Delhi tomorrow for an investors' meet. Unable to run the House, Speaker P K Amat adjourned the proceedings for an hour till 11.30 am.
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.
Talking to media outside the Assembly, a BJP MLA said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to visit Talcher on September 22, may lay foundation stone for the project if it gets clearance from the state government's high-level clearance committee (HLC), headed by Patnaik.
In a letter to the chief minister Tuesday, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also 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," Pradhan wrote to 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," Pradhan stated in his letter. The Union Minister said that the project, once executed, is likely to slash electricity tariff because of easy availability of coal and use of latest technology.
"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," Pradhan added.
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