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Nod to Banka power project
- 4000MW plant to start by end of decade

Patna, Jan. 22: The Centre has cleared the proposal for a 4,000MW ultra mega-power project (UMPP) in Banka, a project designed to take care of Bihar’s energy requirements by the end of this decade.

The project is expected to be commissioned by 2019-20. The state would get 2,000MW from the plant as the Centre has allocated 50 per cent share from the plant to itself.

“We received a letter today (Wednesday) from the ministry of power giving its nod to set up a ultra mega-power project at Banka. We are happy that the Centre has acceded to our long-pending demand as the state would get 2,000MW power from this plant,” energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav told The Telegraph.

Any power project with an installed capacity to generate 4,000MW or more is deemed as an ultra mega-power project.

The state government had, on November 23, 2013, written to the power ministry seeking early approval of the project.

The state government said it would press the Centre to provide coal linkage to the project at the earliest.

“The state government is responsible for providing land and water for the project. We have made that available and accordingly informed the ministry of power. Now, the Centre has to provide coal linkage to the plant,” Yadav said.

Bihar at present gets around 1,500-1,600MW against the total scheduled allocation of around 2,000MW from the central sector.

The state also purchases 400MW from the open market besides getting 110MW from its own source from Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station. The state government has set a target of providing at least 3,000MW in the coming summer and 4,000 MW by the end of the year.

The central decision on power comes close on the heels of the cabinet clearance to two railway projects in Bihar — at Madhepura and Marhowra — that had been gathering dust for a long time.

Central Electricity Authority (CEA), a nodal agency under the ministry of power which advises the government on energy issues, had in March 2013 approved the setting up of the ultra mega-power project at Kakwara in Banka district.

A team from CEA and Power Finance Corporation (PFC), along with state government officials, visited two sites to assess the project’s feasibility.

The team went to Kakwara in Banka and Rajauli in Nawada. The Kakwara site, about 260km from Patna, prima facie, appeared to be suitable for setting up the project, sources said, adding that there are no environmental issues related to it.

The project would require 2,500 acres of land and 120 cusecs of water.

Sources said the site at Kakwara in Banka fulfils all parameters such as easy availability of land, water and coal linkage. They said coal for the project could be transported easily by rail from neighbouring Jharkhand.

The site is also 65km away from Sultanganj from where the plant could draw 120 cusecs of water from the Ganga for power generation.

The clearance of the project is a big boost to the Nitish Kumar government which claims to have drastically improved the power situation in the state.


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