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Palatana plant starts production

- 726MW project in South Tripura to increase generation gradually

Agartala, Oct. 26: Seven years after the foundation stone was laid, Northeast’s biggest thermal power station at Palatana in South Tripura commenced production on the second day of Durga Puja on October 22.

The 363MW first unit of the project started production with an initial generation of just 40MW.

“Initially, we have been asked by the Northeast regional load despatch centre not to generate more than 40-50MW daily. This is why power generation is limited but it will duly reach full capacity,” said S.K. Dubey, managing director of ONGC Tripura Power Corporation.

He said the foundation stone for the plant had been laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 29, 2005, and supposed be completed by 2010 but a number of bottlenecks delayed the completion. “We had to get the heavy equipment, including turbines transported across from Bangladesh and this coupled with other problems delayed the work,” said Dubey.

The managing director claimed the second unit of the Palatana project would be completed by the end of next year.

He added that special 400KV transmission lines have been set up for transferring power from Palatana to Bongaigaon in Assam for the northeastern grid and through it to the national grid.

“With the availability of 196MW of the 726MW of generated power, Tripura will soon become one of the few states in the country to be power surplus. A high-level meeting is being held in Delhi today to decide upon the distribution of power among northeastern states and the national grid,” said Dubey.

He said Bangladesh which rendered “invaluable help” in allowing heavy equipment to be transported through their territory is also keen to have a share of the power generated in Palatana.

“The Tripura government has already agreed to give 100MW to Bangladesh but the final call will have to be taken by the Centre,” said Dubey.

ONGC Tripura Asset’s corporate communications executive Rathin Deb said the corporation was satisfied with the commencement of power generation from Palatana.

“Till now our main concern was the utilisation of the natural gas found there. The Palatana project will consume a considerable amount, as we will have to supply 13 lakh cubic metres of gas daily. When both the units will be operational, we will have to supply more,” said Deb.

He also expressed the hope the urea factory proposed to be set up by Tata Chemicals in the state, will help in bulk purchase of natural gas.