The Adani Power Maharashtra Ltd (AMPL) plant set up near Tiroda in Gondia district has become operational without even being allotted a captive coal block. It overcame hurdles and synchronised its two units. A third unit of the five proposed units of 660MW capacity each, is set to be commissioned later this month. When complete, the unit will generate 3,300MW, hopefully taking care of the power shortage in Maharashtra.
OP Bhardwaj, the in-charge of Tiroda thermal power, informed that the first two units were synchronised in August last year and in January this year respectively and the third unit will go full steam anytime later this month.
According to Bhardwaj, the Tiroda plant is the biggest private power plant in central India and the first supercritical-technology-based unit.
The unit was in trouble when the then union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh cancelled the virgin coal block allotted to it in Lohara near the famous Tadoba tiger reserve in neigbouring Chandrapur district on the grounds that it would affect wildlife conservation as it was located in deep eco-sensitive zone.
But Adani had, by then, drawn up an ambitious plan to set up the power plant and decided to go ahead with import of coal and at the same time seeking coal linkage from the government (Coal India Ltd) for its Tiroda plant.
“We have the coal linkage from Mahanadi Coal Ltd in Odisha for our three units only,” says Bhardwaj. However, the company is facing rough weather for the transportation of coal from Ramtek railway station as the locals are opposing it, saying that it would affect the local environment.
“We have assured the villagers that the company would ensure safety and environment of locals while transporting the coal. Moreover, the coal transportation from Ramtek railway station is for a limited period as our own railway yard near the plant will be completed by end of this month,” Adani official said.
Spread over 540-hectare of land, the plant erection work started in February 2009, Adani Power was importing about three million tonnes coal annually to run the plant. The company is in the process of seeking a new coal block in nearby area in the fresh bidding as an alternative of Lohara coal block and also sought coal linkage from the coal ministry through Coal India. The Fuel Supply Agreement will be signed soon, Bhardwaj said.
Ajit Bordia, the senior vice-president (corporate affairs) of Adani, claimed that when all the five units are commissioned, Maharashtra will be a power surplus state. The company is also seeking review of power purchase agreement (PPA) with the state government as the present cost of production was too high against the PPA when coal supply from Lohara was assured. But now the situation has changed, he said.
The company had signed a PPA with the state government to supply the power at the rate of Rs. 2.64 per unit. “Now it would be difficult for us to supply the power at this rate. We have applied for revision of the PPA before the state regulatory authority,” Barodia informed.