Hemant Soren addresses the gathering at Bhawanathpur on Wednesday. (Ramesh Tiwary)
Ranchi, Feb.19: Security concerns forced chief minister to lay the foundation stone of a 1,320MW power plant 8 km from its anointed site in Garhwa district today.
The power plant, which is to come up on vacant land belonging to Steel Authority of India (SAIL) at Konmadra village, would be set up by Jharkhand Utpadan Vikas Nigam Ltd, a subsidiary of Jharkhand Vidyut Vikas Nigam Ltd.
Though the plant is coming up at Konmadra, absence of access roads, coupled with security concerns, forced the state energy department and the Nigam to arrange for today’s foundation stone laying ceremony at CISF Firing Grounds in the heart of Bhawanathpur town.
Around 4,000 acres of land is available with SAIL and the steel major has already promised to provide around 1,100 acre for the proposed power plant which will have two units of installed capacity of 660 MW each.
It will be developed on a private-public partnership.
Thousands of curious onlookers gathered at the CISF grounds to witness the foundation stone laying ceremony. Rough estimates put the crowd at over 35,000.
Hemant, who reached the town by helicopter from Ranchi around 2pm, went to the venue immediately and did the honours.
“The thermal plant will give a big boost to the development of the entire region, besides ensuring power supply to the districts of Garhwa and Palamau. In addition, I will talk to Steel Authority of India to find out why the limestone crusher unit, said to be one of the biggest in Asia, has remained closed for the past three decades,” Hemant said.
He said once the power plant was commissioned, it would provide direct employment to more than 5,000 people. Around 20,000 people would be benefited indirectly.
Hemant added that within the next three months, Garhwa would be linked by direct transmission lines with the Hatia grid in Ranchi to ensure uninterrupted power supply. “Palamau and Latehar districts have already been linked to the state grid. Development work is being speeded up under the new government,” he said.
Energy minister Rajendra Prasad Singh said that by December 2017, every house in villages would be lit up.