Legacy to burden: Debate rages as Punjab govt plans to dismantle state-owned thermal plants

From being “temples of a modern India”, and symbols of Punjab’s self-dependence, to being termed mere burden, all three government-owned thermal power generation plants in the state are now staring at closure. However, many see the proposal of the state government to shut the plants — Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat near the city, and Rupnagar — as a step in haste and devoid of logic.

A surplus-power scenario, and the fixed cost being paid by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to the three private plants even if not drawing power, are among reasons cited by government officials behind the proposal. And, of course, the state plants turning old. The first unit of the Bathinda plant was commissioned in 1974.

Closure will lead to retrenchment of 6,300 regular and contractual employees. However, as per the book value, these plants have total assets worth Rs 9,000 crore.

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