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Justice Mohan Kumar to Probe RTPS Coal Import Scam

The multi-crore coal import scam along with the alleged irregularities over a period of seven years, commencing from 2002 in the state-owned Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) in the purchase of transformers which rocked the Karnataka legislature recently, has been referred to a judicial inquiry headed by retired high court judge Mohan Kumar.

Karnataka’s energy minister K S Eshwarappa announced the appointment of Justice Mohan Kumar to head the one-man judicial inquiry commission and said the probe panel has been asked to submit its report within six months.

It may be recalled that the Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had announced the government’s decision to refer the entire allegations to a retired judge of the High Court to conduct a probe into coal purchases and transportation of indigenously mined coal from some mines in Orissa.

The Government has preferred a judicial inquiry in the light of malpractices and misuse of public funds which have come to light, Eshwarappa said.

Meanwhile, the minister indicated that the Union Environment Ministry has agreed to send an expert committee to assess the feasibility of setting up a 270 MW hydro power generation unit at Gundia in Sakleshpur taluk of Hassan district.

Eshwarappa said the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had informed the State Government about sending of the expert committee to study the pros and cons of the project from the environmental perspective.

The establishment of the project had created a lot of public outcry from local people and environmentalists as it was likely to destroy over 100 hectares of forest in the Malnad region.

A few months ago, Yeddyurappa laid the foundation stone to the project. The Centre would provide environmental clearances to the hydro project only after the studying the expert committee’s report, Eshwarappa said.

The Malnad Janapara Horata Samithi has been opposing the project on ecological grounds. Eshwarappa contended that no talks were held between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments on setting up of power projects in the Cauvery Basin.

The State Government was keen only on augmenting the power generation at Shivanasamudram. So far, there was no talk with the Tamil Nadu government on the establishment of power plants Rasimanal and Hogenakkal in Tamil Nadu and Mekadatu in Karnataka, he said. A year ago, the then Union Minister of State for Power, Jairam Ramesh, discussed the subject with the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, M Karunanidhi and Yeddyurappa.

Establishment of four power projects in the Cauvery Basin would destroy about 10,000 hectares of forests in both states. The State Government wanted to implement Shivasamudram project on its own, Eshwarappa said.

The State has been facing shortage of power on account of increased demand from all sectors of the economy. For the time being, there was no question of purchasing power from private parties. The demand has been fluctuating between 89 million units and 101 million units per day for last few days.

The Government was confident of adding 5000 MW to the State grid at the end of its five year tenure, he added.

Source: DaijiWorld


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