NTPC, Railways to set up Rs.7700 Crore Power Plant at Nabinagar

Nabinagar: A joint venture between NTPC Ltd and the Indian Railways is going to invest about Rs7,700 crore in setting up a 1,320mw power plant in West Bengal.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at Rs7,698.46 crore to be invested by Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Co Ltd, according to a reported submitted to the state government prepared by Desein Pvt Ltd, a consultant appointed by the joint venture.

The power project slated to come up at a remote backward region, Adra at Manpura village in Purulia district of West Bengal, was first announced by Mamata Banerjee at her Railway Budget speech for 2009-10 following which a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parties in October 2010.

It is not likely to face any delay due to land acquisition as Indian Railways is already in possession of all the land required for it.

“The total land requirement for the project is about 1,000 acre. Land required for the main plant including ash pond is about 970 acre and for colony about 30 acre. As land for the project is already in the possession of the Ministry of Railways, there will be no displacement and hence no issues related to resettlement and rehabilitation,” said the report prepared for environmental clearance for the project.

“Land shall be acquired as per rules of West Bengal state government and suitable compensation/R&R measures shall be provided as per state government norms,” it said.

The JV partners are required to acquire only 155 acres for laying water pipeline.

The public Hearing for the project is scheduled to be held on September 6. The power project would be coal-based for which application for coal linkage to the plant has been submitted to the coal ministry.

“Approximately 7.42 million tonnes of coal per annum would be required for the proposed plant. Maximum of about 900 tonne per hour will be required to operate the proposed plant,” the report available with DNA said.

NTPC, which holds the majority 74% stake in Bharatiya Rail Bijlee, formed the joint venture in 2007 with Indian Railways, having the balance 26%, to generate power exclusively for running the large network of Electric Multiple Unit coaches in the country.

“Indian Railway avails power for traction supply for feeding electrical supply for running trains on electrified routes from distribution companies, power companies and state electricity boards. Its annual consumption of electricity for traction use at present is 13 billion units and average purchase cost is Rs4.46/kWh,” the report said.

Bharatiya Rail Bijlee is currently executing another project of 1000mw capacity at Nabinagar in Bihar at an investment of Rs5,352 crore.

The work on the project, conceived way back in 2002 during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as the railway minister, had suffered inordinate delays primarily because of the nature of the joint venture.

Following series of meetings, the railways and NTPC agreed upon the specifics including the beneficiaries of the project and equity stake each partner will own. The Railway department has now accepted that out of total power generated, 10% would be earmarked to other users to be identified by NTPC.

A similar distribution model has also been decided for the West Bengal project.

The Bihar project, however, has again suffered delays following the Supreme Court stay on August 1 on the `5,000 crore tender for a cooling tower awarded to Lanco Infratech on a petition filed by Kolkata-based rival Paharpur Cooling Towers.