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CM land and coal hope for NTPC

Feb. 11: Mamata Banerjee today promised land and coal to NTPC’s proposed power plant in Burdwan’s Katwa, but state power department officials questioned the feasibility of the project.

After a cabinet meeting at Uttarkanya, Mamata said her government would give the central power utility 97.1 acres of vested land and coal from a block allocated to the state-run generation utility.

“We will give them around 98 acres so that they don’t have to exert pressure on the public. From our available resources, we will provide coal to them as well,” she said.

“There is only one condition. NTPC will have to give us 85 per cent of the power it produces…. There is no power shortage here,” Mamata said.

Power secretary Gopal Krishna said today that NTPC would get 7.5 million tonnes of coal annually from the Deocha-Pachami block in Birbhum.

For the proposed 1,320MW project, NTPC has been given 556 acres, acquired during the Left rule. The utility agreed in December last year to buy 150 acres directly. After it gets the 97.1 acres from the Trinamul government, NTPC will have to buy another 53 acres.

A power department official said: “It is true that a survey is being conducted at Katwa to see how much land the government has, but we don’t have a quantum yet.”

Even if the government gives NTPC the land, the utility will find it difficult to adhere to environmental norms in setting up the plant on 706 acres.

According to the Eastern Regional Power Committee’s estimates, 0.65 acre is required for every MW generated. That means the NTPC will need 858 acres for the 1,320MW plant, half of which has to be allocated for an ash pit.