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Coal trips mega energy plan for Banka

The Super Thermal Power plant at Barh. Telegraph picture

Central Electricity Authority, a nodal agency under the power ministry advising the government on issues relating to power, has written a letter for coal allotment for setting up a 4,000MW ultra mega power project in Banka district.

“Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has asked the coal ministry to allot coal linkage for an ultra mega power project to be set up in the state. But the ministry has not yet taken any decision on allocation of the linkage to Bihar’s power project,” Anand Kishor, managing director, Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd, told The Telegraph.

This would pave the way for setting up of 4,000MW of power plants to take care of the state’s future energy requirements, following the inauguration of the first 110MW thermal plant on November 17, 2013.

Kishor, however, said the state government has identified land in Banka for the ambitious project but the acquisition process has not yet begun.

In March, CEA had approved setting up of an ultra mega power project at Kakwara in Banka district.

The decision was taken after the CEA team carried out a field inspection of the proposed sites at Kakwara in Banka and Rajauli in Nawada.

The Kakwara site appeared suitable for setting up the project, sources said, while quoting the report that there were no environmental issues related to it.

Following the Centre’s in-principle nod to the thermal power project in July 2012, a high-level team of officers from CEA and Power Finance Corporation, and state government officials, visited both the sites to set up the project.

Any power project with an installed capacity of 4,000MW and above is considered an ultra power project and would require 2,500 acres and a supply of 120 cusecs of water.

CEA approved the project after it found the site fulfilling all parameters such as easy availability of land, water and coal linkage. Sources said the project could get coal easily through railways from neighbouring Jharkhand.

Bihar Power Infrastructure Company, a joint venture consultant firm of the Bihar government and IL&FS, in its report, said around 2,500 acres, which are not very fertile, are available just 14km away from Banka town at Kakwara.

Sources said the problem of water availability for such a mammoth project could be sorted out as the land is 65km away from Sultanganj from where the plant could draw 120 cusecs of water from the Ganga for power generation.

Established successfully, the project would provide 2,000MW or half of the 4,000MW generated to the power-deficient state. The plant could be commissioned in five-six years from the time the work starts if everything goes according to plan, sources said.

Power figures big on chief minister Nitish Kumar’s agenda. The chief minister has vowed to improve power availability in the state failing which he would not seek votes from the people in the next assembly elections that is due in October-November 2015.

The power situation in the state has increased drastically to 2,300MW in October from 1,200-1,300MW a year ago. Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd recently shifted focus on timely generation from two 110MW units at Barauni Thermal Power Station.