Project delays are nothing new in this country. But it is unusual for a project, whose foundation stone is laid by a prime minister, to hang fire for 11 long years.
On March 6, 1999, the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had laid the foundation stone of NTPC’s 2,000-MW North Karanpura power project in Jharkhand. But 11 years later, the project execution is still to take off.
The authorities — ministries of power and coal — are still deliberating the modus operandi for executing this project. The bone of contention is the land on which the power plant is to be built. The coal ministry has now found this land to be a coal bearing area and feels “setting up a power project on such a resource will be a national waste.”
However, the power ministry does not want to relocate the project and has offered to shift it by 300-500 meters. As the same is not acceptable to the coal ministry, chances are the project may finally get shelved.
“NTPC and the power ministry are making all out efforts to see that the project is not shelved,” NTPC CMD RS Sharma told HT. “The project cannot be relocated due to various reasons. We have proposed developing this project at a distance of 300-500 meters away from the original location.”
Power ministry officials said the location of the project was finalised by NTPC in consultation with the coal authorities like Coal India Ltd and the plan delineating the boundary limits of the plant and associated facilities/infrastructure was signed in July 2003.
“Based on the agreed location, NTPC acquired significant amount of land,” said a senior NTPC official. “(Expenditure of) about Rs 139 crore has already been incurred and contracts for about Rs 61 crore have been placed.”