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Garhwa power plant on course

Ranchi, Feb. 18: Jharkhand Vidyut Vikas Nigam Ltd is going ahead with plans to lay the foundation stone of a proposed power plant in Garhwa district tomorrow, foreseeing no hitch in obtaining pending environmental clearances as the land being used was free of encumbrances.

Therefore, JVVNL chairman S. N. Verma said, chief minister Hemant Soren would be laying the foundation stone of the proposed 1,320 MW plant at Bhawanathpur tomorrow.

“There is nothing in the rule book to debar the state government from laying the foundation stone for a proposed power plant for which environmental clearance has not been obtained. The Nigam shall facilitate the clearance for the project,” he told The Telegraph.

Verma explained that land had already been provided by Steel Authority of India and coal supplies for the plant was assured from Banhardih coal block allotted by the Centre to the erstwhile Jharkhand state electricity board.

“The project site has no forests. No private land is required for the project as all the land is owned by the raw materials division of SAIL. Around 4,000 acres of land is available with SAIL and the steel major has already communicated its assent to providing around 1,100 acres for the proposed power plant,” he said, adding that obtaining environmental clearance would, therefore, pose no problem.

The power plant would be developed on private-public partnership. Global tenders would be floated and the company which quotes the least rates would be selected to take up the work.

Also, the onus of funding the project would vest on the successful bidder, the JVVNL chief explained.

“We need to boost power generating capacity in the state on priority. Over the past 13 years, not a single power plant has come up in the state. By rough estimates, the total power demand, which currently stands at 1,000 MW, would double in the next five years. We need to pull up our socks. It is in this backdrop that a concerted effort is being made to put up new power generating units in the state,” Verma explained.

Districts of Garhwa and Palamau are supplied power from neighbouring Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Once the Bhawanathpur plant comes up, hopefully in five years, Jharkhand would not have to rely on other states for power.

All its power requirements would then be met from internal sources.

BJP leader Saryu Roy, in a letter to Hemant, had alleged that power officials were misleading him. He said environmental clearances had not been obtained and detailed project reports had not been drawn up. Nor had any steps been taken to obtain necessary approvals from the state government or the Centre, he claimed.

He also claimed that the site of the proposed project was rich in limestone deposits.


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