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Power add-on to quench Nitish’s thirst for electrification

The state would add 330MW of power to its kitty soon.

The stage has been set to declare the commercial operation of the first unit of stage-II of National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Barh plant on March 31.

NTPC’s chairman-cum-managing director Arup Roy Chowdhury will inaugurate the commercial production of the 660MW Unit IV of the thermal plant at Barh.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited chairman-cum-managing director B.P. Rao, NTPC director (commercial) I.J. Kumar, director (operations) N.N. Mishra and director (projects) S.C. Pande would accompany Chowdhury on the occasion.

“We have received information (from the ministry of power) regarding the commercial operation of the plant. The tentative date for starting the commercial operation of the plant has been fixed for March 31,” NTPC Barh assistant manager (public relations) Vishwanath Chandan told The Telegraph.

Bihar would get 330MW from the plant as the Centre has allocated 50 per cent share from Barh’s stage-II plant.

It would be the second unit in the state that would start generating power after Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (MTPS).

MTPS unit-I started generating power formally on November 17 last year after renovation and modernisation. Its second unit is expected to start production by the end of April this year.

The Telegraph on January 13, 2014, had reported that the Union ministry of power had set March 1, 2014, as deadline for declaring commercial operation but the technical problem of tube leakage in the plant delayed its commercial operation.

The plant was ready for commercial operation after the trial, NTPC sources said, adding that the commercial generation could have been started anytime in February because the deadline was March 1.

But the tube leakage and the subsequent delay in rectifying the fault, led to postponement of declaring commercial operation of the unit.

In January, the trial was completed and the plant had been run beyond its full load capacity of 660MW. The unit was run at 672MW and found nothing was amiss.

The synchronisation process or a trial run — which was put in motion in the middle of October 2013 — was a crucial last step prior to the start of commercial operation of the plant, a source said.

Under the synchronisation process, the plant would be connected to the grid to see the load factor and also to ensure whether or not all other aspects of the plant are working correctly for it to be made operational.

In this case too, trial runs have been conducted for around three months now during which the behaviour of equipment was monitored from the control room and everything was found satisfactory except the incident of tube-leakage.

After MTPS, which not only added 110MW, to the state besides wiping the stigma of Bihar having nil power generation, Barh would add another 330MW to Bihar’s kitty.

This is crucial and could, probably, prove to be a “game-changer” in the Lok Sabha elections for chief minister Nitish Kumar.

He has been saying in public speeches since August 15, 2012, when he first announced that he would not seek vote in the Assembly polls if he fails to improve the power situation by 2015.

Nitish, who conceived and executed the plant, held review meetings from time to time to oversee the progress of the plant’s work and gave necessary instructions to NTPC officials to speed up the work and complete it at the earliest.


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