Calcutta, Nov. 28: Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) has written to the Bengal government saying it is not feasible to set up the proposed thermal power plant in Singur because of several technical and financial difficulties.
In the letter to Debashish Sen, managing director of the West Bengal Power Development Corporation, with which Bhel was supposed to set up the plant, the Navratna public sector companys general manager (marketing), S.C. Mittal, said: We have reviewed with our engineers the feasibility of setting up a 2x800MW power plant at the site and it appears that the project is not feasible at the site
which was shown to us.
The letter is dated November 21.
Tata Motors holds the 997 acres that Bhel was shown in Singur. It was building its Nano car plant there and moved out last year following the Trinamul Congresss land agitation.
The first reason Bhel gave was shortage of land. Bhel requires 1,500-1,600 acres for the project. Of the 997 acres at Singur, Mamata wants 400 acres returned to the farmers who had been unwilling to sell their plots to the Tatas.
Bhel said it would need 7,210 cubic litres of water every day to run the plant. For such a huge supply of water daily, it would have to lay an 18km pipeline to Serampore, which is on the banks of the Ganga.
That means Bhel would have to go for land acquisition, which it said was technically and financially not viable.
Bhel is also apprehensive about getting the mandatory clearance from the Union environment ministry for the project because there are residential areas nearby. Chances of pollution from fly ash, a by-product of thermal power generation, are extremely high, it said.
A survey by Bhel has also revealed that the Singur land is low and an adjacent canal floods the area in the monsoon.
The land needs to be raised and so the costs would escalate, the letter said. Additionally, there is shortage of coal supply in Bengal, which would create a hurdle for the thermal plant.
Over and above the 1,600 acres, Bhel would need more land to set up two transmission towers for heavy power generation and a pond to dump 5,100 metric tonnes of ash.
In view of the above, you will please appreciate that the project is not feasible, the letter said.
The government was also in talks with the company to build an equipment manufacturing plant.
A power department official said: Although our proposal was mainly about the power plant, we had also discussed a power equipment factory to which they have so far not responded.