Bihar may lose mega power project

In what threatens to be a major setback to power-starved Bihar’s bid to become self-dependent for its energy needs, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is learned to be contemplating withdrawal from a joint venture project at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district.

NTPC, in a JV with the Bihar government, has floated the Nabinagar Power Generating Company (NPGC) Private Limited to execute a mega thermal power project at Nabinagar. However, it has not been able to start work on the project due to unrest over land acquisition. “NTPC will say goodbye to the project if the required land is not made available to the executing agency within a week,” a Union energy department official told TOI on Monday.

The project is tagged with two other projects each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh and one in Jharkhand. The equipment for the plant is being sourced under bulk tendering. “Bihar is the only state where the work has been delayed,” the official said.

The work was scheduled to start in July last year. In 2009 itself, NPGC deposited Rs 173 crore with the state government for land. “Though we have been handed over about 1,871 acres of private land, we have not been able to start work due to violence by a handful of landowners,” an NTPC official said.

NPGC, according to sources, made five attempts to take physical possession of the land handed over to it. But to no avail. This despite the fact that 1,250 and odd farmers have already accepted the compensation. “Only a few influential farmers with vested interests are creating disturbances at the site,” the sources said.

The project requires 2,832 acre of land. The remaining 961 acre of land is ‘gair mazarua khas’, or government-owned, land. High-level meetings were held in the past to expedite the handing over of this land.

Now that the government land is being handed over to NPGC, farmers illegally occupying the land are demanding compensation which the government is rightly refusing to pay. “It is these affected farmers who have stopped us from working on the project at the site,” the NTPC official said.

Source – TOI

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SUMIT KUMAR

Executive at India Electron Exchange

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