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Power pledge push

Patna, Feb. 22: Bihar today took a major step in power generation by signing two MoUs with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to set up thermal plants at Kajra and Pirpainty, each of 1,320MW.

Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited (BSPGCL) signed an MoU with NTPC to set up a 2x660MW (1,320MW) super critical technology based plants at Kajra in Lakhisarai under a joint venture and another MoU with NHPC to set up 2x660MW (1320) super critical technology based plants at Pirpainty in Bhagalpur (see graphic).

Taking a jibe at different versions of his power pledge in the 2012 Independence Day speech in the media, Nitish said: “There are various versions of my Independence Day speech. What I say, I mean it. Whenever I say something, I say it after much thought. On August 15, 2012, I had said I would not seek votes if I fail to improve the power supply in the state by December 2015.”

The state would get 85 per cent of the total power generation. The MoUs were signed in the presence of chief minister Nitish Kumar, energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and NTPC chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Arup Roy Chowdhury and NHPC director R.P. Bhargava.

Chief secretary A.K. Sinha, energy secretary-cum- Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited CMD Sandeep Poundrik, managing directors of four power companies, the chief minister’s energy adviser P.K. Rai and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

The chief minister laid the foundation stones for various schemes and projects of the department, pertaining to the modernisation and strengthening of transmission, sub-transmission and distribution network of the state, worth Rs 12,100 crore.

The projects included the start of rural electrification work in 27 districts under which every habitation of 100 people would be electrified in the next two years.

Terming the MoU signing as an important step towards making the state energy-sufficient, Nitish exhorted NTPC and NHPC officials to expedite and complete the projects because the necessary clearances for starting work have already been acquired. “These plants have got coal block and all necessary clearances,” said Nitish, adding that the process of land acquisition has been almost completed.

“Now, it is up to these power majors to start work,” Nitish added, while requesting the NTPC CMD, who hails from the state, to use his office to get the state’s quota increased from 26 per cent to 40 per cent from Barh plant’s Stage I (3x660MW).

Nitish appreciated the NTPC’s efforts for starting one plant each at Muzaffarpur thermal power station and Barh super thermal power station. Barh is being operated on trial run basis.

The chief minister warned officials of distribution companies not to snap power connection of entire villages if a handful of consumers default on bill payment.