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Powerless city set to get new plant

delhi Updated: Jun 19, 2009 23:48 IST
Avishek G. Dastidar

After months of deliberation, the Delhi Development Authority has finally allotted land to BSES, the private electricity distributor, to make a 1400-MW power plant in West Delhi.

The DDA's technical committee, in its latest meeting two weeks ago, gave the go ahead to authorise change in land use so that the proposed power plant could come up at Tikri Kalan village beyond Mundka near the Haryana border.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Energy-backed BSES proposes to make a gas-based, 1400 MW plant within 36 months of gaining possession of the land.

“The proposal was with us for almost a year. The decks have finally been cleared for a change of land use for around 160 acres of land,” said a senior DDA official.

The discom had been seeking a 300-acre land, but the technical committee, after evaluation of the proposed project, allowed around half of that, the official said.

The private discom had been vying for space to set up this project for the past few years.

Once the proposal was to acquire land near Akshardham Temple in the trans-Yamuna area.

Later, it had also given the Municipal Corporation of Delhi a proposal to acquire the Ghazipur landfill and construct the said plant there.

The gas-based plant would bring Delhi closer to being self-reliant in power. It will be in addition to the government’s much anticipated 1600-MW Pragati Power Plant in Bawana in North Delhi.

That is still three years away.

At present, however, Delhi’s private discoms appear to be failing miserably at their job even when the peak power demand was a modest 3765 MW-highly manageable as per the government's earlier assurances.

But the city reeled under rampant power cuts ranging from one to six hours on Friday as a load of 450 MW—around 150 per cent of Delhi’s total power demand — could not be met.

Officially, the government said load sheddings were caused to prevent overdrawal from the Northern Grid.

“The Grid has been unstable due to erratic frequency relays. We needed to force some grid discipline,” said a senior official of Delhi Transco, the state power transmission utility.

South, West and East Delhi areas suffered the most.

“Starting early morning, the power cuts went on throughout the day. The discoms are snapping power supply at will, as if they are not accountable to anyone,” said S.K Pandit a 60-year-old resident of Dwarka Sector 14.

As per government figures, a 210 MW unit of Badarpur thermal power station was out of action on Friday, and power supply from the hydel power station in Himachal Pradesh has been low.