| Chief minister Nitish Kumar and other officials inspect the NTPC plant at Barh on Wednesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
The National Thermal Power Corporation’s plant in Barh will start commercial production from its first unit by March 2014, giving the state a boost of 330MW.
In a chat with The Telegraph on the sidelines of the inauguration of a power sub-station at Pandarak, around 70km east of Patna, Sandeep Poundrik, the chairman-cum-managing director of Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited, said the “synchronisation” of the first unit of the power plant would begin from October 10.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated the sub-station at Pandarak near Barh, and several other power projects worth Rs 150 crore, on Wednesday.
“The synchronisation of the first unit (660MW) of the thermal plant would begin from October 10 morning. The power plant would be operational from this month but the commercial production would begin from March next year,” Poundrik said.
Synchronisation is a process aimed at matching the frequency between the grid and the turbine. “In layman’s term, it means putting the entire power production system in place and getting things started,” an NTPC official said.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had laid the foundation stone of the thermal power plant in March 1999 when Nitish Kumar was serving under him as a Union minister.
“There are five units at the NTPC plant and each of them would produce 660MW. Around 3,300MW would be generated and all the five units would be operational by 2016. Since the first unit is all set to start, Bihar would get 330MW from it. This is definitely a good news for the state,” Nitish said. The cost of the project, which is running late by two years, is said to be around Rs 26,000 crore.
Clinching the opportunity to hit back at his political rivals, Nitish added that the power plant had been termed a damp squib.
“We played an important part in bringing the NTPC plant in Barh. But our opponents termed it a bad idea and tried to get the project cancelled. What is unfortunate is that Bihar never asked for power from this plant stating that it never needed it. The state could have got much more power from the plant if the demand was made earlier and in a proper way,” Nitish said.
Earlier, the Centre had assured the state government that it would get 50 per cent of the output from the Barh plant. It means that the power-starved state can expect an additional 660MW.
Officials pointed out that by next year, the state would be producing around 4,000MW power from varied sources.
“Power is at present the most important sector for the state. Several projects have been inaugurated and foundation stones of many more have been laid. However, there is a lot of work still left. Around 72,000km of wires are dysfunctional. Of this, 29,000km has been replaced. In the next two years, this work will be completed too. The opening of the Pandarak sub-station and similar projects in Bakhtiarpur, Athmalgola, Belchi in Patna rural will help in rural electrification,” Nitish said.