New Delhi: A Rs12,000-crore power project of NTPC that could have eased electricity deficit in western states, specially in summers, is idling despite completion due to Chhattisgarh government reneging on its commitment to supply water.
Lack of water, which is heated and turned into steam for power generation in thermal plants besides for washing coal, has prompted NTPC to approach the who’s who both at the Centre and in Chhattisgarh to get the 500-MW unit at the Sipat power plant on stream. The project will have a capacity of 3,000 MW when fully commissioned.
Delay in water supply could mean an additional interest outgo and a loss in revenue totalling Rs 200 crore a month.
NTPC was to commission the first 500-MW unit in October 2007 but had to put it on hold following the Chhattisgarh government’s decision to revoke the sanction of water for the plant, company chairman and managing director T Sankaralingam told PTI here.
“There is already a delay of five months because of the water issue with the state government,” he said.
The second 500 MW unit would have been commissioned this month or early April to partly meet summer power demand of Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.
But, the schedule has gone haywire due to the state government decision that has already led to a rise of Rs19 crore a month in capital cost on account of interest for the construction period.
Water in a coal-based power plant is heated and turned into steam for power generation. It is also used for washing of coal.
Sankarlingam said the state government stopped water supply to the plant in May last year, alleging non-drawal of water from the allocated reservoir within the agreed period. “We started drawing water as per schedule (and) have not violated any agreement.”
NTPC envisaged generation of 3,000 MW from three units of 660 MW and two units of 500 MW in Sipat. “We synchronised the first unit in May 2007 but haven’t been able to commission it due to water problem,” he said.
The delay has resulted in a loss of 720 million units a month which could have been sold from the two units. Calculated at a rate of about Rs two per unit, the revenue loss comes to Rs144 crore.
“In February 2007, we received a letter from the water department of Chhattisgarh stating we have not drawn water within the specified period of May 2006, hence the agreement stands cancelled,” Sankaralingam said adding, however, that NTPC had drawn 35 million cubic metres of water by February 2006.
The state has asked the company to apply afresh for water allocation.
Sankaralingam said the company has held meetings with top officials of power ministry and the state, including Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and the Governor of Chhattisgarh.
The project was to benefit states in Western Region including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa. Chhattisgarh was to receive 158 MW power from the project.
The project is part of the 11th Five Year Plan capacity addition programme of the NTPC, which seeks to become a 50,000 MW company by 2012.