An ongoing dispute over water between a young state and power generation giant has left the country short by 1,000 mega watts of power.
NTPC’s Sipat 2980 MW (capacity on completion) super thermal power plant in Chattisgarh would have been first of its kind to use the supercritical steam technology that operates at high pressures and temperatures, improving efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide.
At Sipat 2x500 MW units are ready but because of NTPC’s ongoing water dispute with Chattisgarhh government both these have an uncertain future.
According to NTPC official said “One of our 500MW plant has been lying idle since October and the other can be synchronized any day provided water which is the most critical input is made available.”
Had these two plants been commissioned power shortages of Western region states including Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh would heve been met. Incidentally barring Goa the other states are critically short of power.
The row started when Chattisgarhh government alleged that NTPC had failed to keep its promise of employing project-affected people and that it had not drawn water from the Hasdeo river’s Bango dam for four years and thus its agreement for water allocation was cancelled.
Refuting the allegation senior NTPC official said, "We had advertised for filling the vacancies and received 16,000 applications of which 53 were project affected persons and they were given preference," he said of jobs offered.
The official also said, “barring 79 families most of the 3,106 project affected families have chosen to accept land in exchange for land as compensation and were not interested in jobs. So their allegation holds no ground.”
The war of words between the two warring parties does not end here.
NTPC claims Chattisgarh is denying them the promised quantity of water to run the supercritical steam turbines, but the state government claims it had committed water from Hasdeo River from its Bango dam. However, NTPC claims it has neither drawn water in four years nor has it has it paid dues amounting to Rs 2.16 crore for water that the state government had allocated NTPC.
Chattisgarhh says it asked NTPC to draw water for its units from Mahanadi River, which is barely 50 kilometers from the project site, but NTPC is not keen, as drawing water from the river will entail an additional expense of Rs 150 crores for laying the pipeline.