The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is not keen on running the 540-MW (2 units each of 270 megawatts) coal-based power-generating plant at Goindwal Sahib (Tarn Taran) on lease.
It has turned down a proposal mooted by the Punjab government, which had asked the PSPCL to look for options to run the thermal plant on lease after the plant promoters, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited, took up the matter with top functionaries of the state government. Left with no option, the plant promoters are expected to approach the PSPCL for extension in the deadline for commercial operations to July 2014.
The proposal was examined by a committee of three chief engineers, which made it clear that adequate coal was not available to run the Goindwal Sahib plant along with the three state-owned thermal plants- at Ropar, Lehra Mohabbat and Bathinda from the state-owned coal mine. The recommendation was also discussed by the top management of the PSPCL, which decided to convey to the government their inability to run the plant.
For the past more than seven months, the plant promoters have been awaiting coal to run commercial operations.
GVK had requested the state government to take up the project on lease. The coal was supposed to come from PSPCL-owned Pachwara coal block in Jharkhand. At an initial stage, the PSPCL had objections, but the political leadership in the state insisted on a feasibility study to run the plant.
According to sources, the political leadership wants to run the project before the 2014 parliamentary elections. The plant, which was to be commissioned in March last year, has been delayed as GVK, that was allocated the coal block at Tokisud in Jharkhand failed to develop the mine on time.
"Our coal mine will come into operation not before July 2014, and till that time, the plant will remain non-functional in case no alternative is found," said a GVK official.
GVK Reddy, chairman-cum-managing director, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited, had met chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who holds the charge of the power department, in March 2012 and raised the issue of non-availability of coal.
The PSPCL, formerly the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), was allocated the Pachwara coal block in Pakur district (Jharkhand). The mine has been in operation since 2006 by Panem Coal Mines Limited, a joint venture of the PSPCL and EMTA Coal Limited, Kolkata. About 60 % of the coal requirement of the three state-owned thermal plants is being met by Panem and 40% comes from Coal India Limited.