New Delhi: The government on Wednesday decided not to relocate the proposed power plant at North Karanpura, Jharkhand, to be set up by state-owned power producer NTPC Ltd, from its current location near Tandwa town in Chatra, in the same state.
This decision to keep the so-called super thermal power project where it is was taken by the cabinet committee on investment at a meeting chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The government has also restored the original coal linkage for the project, which is expected to generate 1,980 megawatts (MW) of power. The coal supply would be made available as per the provisions in the 13th five year plan (2017-2022).
NTPC is likely to spend Rs.12,000-14,000 crore to set up the power generating unit.
Coal India Ltd (CIL) and the coal ministry had objected to the location of the plant, and in 2008, the latter had withdrawn the coal linkages to it. CIL and the ministry wanted the plant to be relocated as they said it would come up at a location that has an estimated 6 billion tonnes of coal reserves. The coal ministry had also cited safety concerns in its note to the cabinet. It had suggested relocating the plant to a place close to Kanhakala village, 15km north-east of Chatra.
In September 2011, a ministerial panel on coal had set up a sub-committee under former cabinet secretary and Planning Commission member B.K. Chaturvedi to look into the issue.
The power project will be built at a pithead and the power will be generated by NTPC for about 35 years of plant life.
The cabinet also cleared the development of at least six coal blocks that have been allocated to CIL, a top government official present at the meeting said.
This official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, did not specify the locations of these blocks. NTPC chairman and managing director Arup Roy Choudhury said that this would be the company’s first project in Jharkhand.
“Post the completion of the project’s life cycle, we will dismantle the project and restore the site. We expect the work to start on the project shortly, which has been pending since 1999,” said P. Uma Shankar, power secretary. “The plant will be set up at the site which NTPC has decided. The original coal linkage will be restored. This 1,980MW project will require an investment of Rs.14,000 crore and will help the state of Jharkhand, which has a 26% tribal population,” he added.
Calls made to CIL chairman S. Narsing Rao’s mobile phone remained unanswered.