The 1,320-MW thermal powerhouse proposed to be set up at Karchhana, near Allahabad, may never see the light of the day.
JP Associates, the developer, has not been able to get the land for the plant even after bagging the contract three-years ago for setting up the plant. The buzz is that the company has already started looking for a prospective buyer in the market to sell off the proposed plant.
The farmers’ hostile attitude is said to be the main reason for developing cold feet now. The farmers are not allowing the administration to take possession of their land for the plant even after they signed sale agreements. Sources in the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) alleged that some political parties were fuelling the farmers’ agitation there unmindful of the local development that the plant if set up might bring about in its trail.
“We have acquired almost 90% of the land for the plant but now farmers want greater compensation and are not allowing the land to take the possession of the land for the plant,” said VK Verma, chief engineer, planning.
The rules do not allow any developer to sell off a plant, the contract for which it had got following a competitive bidding, Verma said. “The only possible thing is to relocate the powerhouse or invite fresh bids if we ever come to that situation,” he said.
JP Associates had got the contract for setting up a 1,980-MW plant at Bara and 1,320-MW at Karchhana in November 2008 after the government cancelled bids twice. As per the contract, the plants were supposed to start generating electricity by 2013. Though at least rudimentary work has begun on the site at Bara where land is no problem, nothing has happened in case of the Karchhana.
Even in case of the Bara, the developer recently got the timeline extended till 2015. And the fact the company did not move an application in the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) for extension of the time-line for the Karchhana plant also reinforces the buzz about it no longer interested in setting up the plant. “Whatever the reasons, but one thing is certain that the fate of the Karchhana plant hangs in the balance,” said a UPERC official.