The Telegraph
Sunday , January 20 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power push to Nitish dream project

Patna, Jan. 19: Construction work of the 1,980MW power project at Nabinagar in Aurangabad is set to begin from February, almost a year after chief minister Nitish Kumar laid its foundation.

Nabinagar Power Generating Company (NPGC), a 50:50 joint venture between NTPC and Bihar State Power Holding Company, would finalise the contractor of the project by the end of January or latest by the first week of February, a senior NPGC officer told The Telegraph. “We have almost completed the tender process for awarding the main plant contract, following which construction of the thermal plant would begin,” the official said.

The contractor would start the construction according to the plant’s layout and, accordingly, start laying foundation for setting up boilers and turbines for the project, a source said, adding that mobilisation of equipment for plant would also begin soon.

On the land acquisition, the NPGC official refused to get into details but said: “The main area on which the plant has to be built has been cleared. Initial requirement of land for the plant has been taken care of and work will start without any hiccups.”

The NPGC is in the process of developing a 3300MW project near Majhiyan village and Ankorha railway station. The Centre had in April last year given its in-principle nod for setting up a sixth unit of the 660MW project, taking its total generation capacity to 3,960MW.

The company has started the work for setting up three units of 660MW (1,980MW) in Stage I, the first unit of which would start generating power after 52 months. The rest of the unit would follow every six months in phases, whereas the NPCG would set up two units of 660MW (1320) in Stage II. The third unit of 660MW was added in the later stage.

Nabinagar power plant is one of the few major projects on which Nitish is heavily banking to fulfil his promise to provide power to all people in the state by the end of December 2015, failing which he would not seek vote. Reiterating his stand, the chief minister had on Thursday said it was a “do or die” situation for him.

Out of the 1980MW in Stage I, Bihar would get its share of 1373 MW (69.34 per cent) according to the original schedule of generation between November 2015 and November 2016. Much to Nitish’s dismay, the project has been delayed by a year because of hurdles in getting 2,832acres of land acquired for the project. The chief minister had on January 28, 2012, laid the foundation for the project at an estimated cost of Rs 12,759 crore (at 2010 prices) after resolving the issue with farmers at his residence and announced a compensation package for farmers whose property (land/structure) had been acquired.

However, Arun Kumar Singh, the president of Vishthapit Kisan Mazdoor Kalyan Samiti of NPGC, said they had never opposed the plant and the compensation package announced by the chief minister. “We are opposing the district and NPGC administration’s proposal of signing an agreement, which takes away our right to file cases in court in the event of farmers not getting adequate compensation,” he told The Telegraph.

The agreement states that the future generation of the farmers can’t lay any kind of claim over the land acquisition, he added.