THE FATE of the Dadri power project hangs in the balance. This has happened despite the fact that the farmers led by former Prime Minister VP Singh demanded market value for their land acquired by the State Government for the Reliance Energy Ltd (REL) to set up the plant.
The former Prime Minister may be accused of politicising the issue. But he has a point when he raises the question of delay being made by the developer in beginning any work on the 2500 acres of land.REL head Anil Ambani had on January 27, 2004 announced the project at a press conference in Delhi. He had touted it to be the world’s largest gas-based power project with Rs 10,000 crore investment. He claimed that the project would start generating electricity by 2007. Later, the Chief Minister laid the foundation for the 3,500 MW power project.
The Mulayam Singh-led Government projected the plant as an answer to the power crisis the State is facing. Thus, the Chief Minister did not forget to mention the project in his public meetings.
However, two and a half years later that euphoria is missing but that is not without a reason. The project was supposed to be completed by 2007. While five months are left for completion of the project, not a single brick has been brought to the project site.
Principal secretary (Energy) AK Khurana said, “I read it somewhere that the REL has said that it will complete the project by August 2008-09. I hope, the company will stick to its words.” He claimed that the incidents, like the one that took place at Dadri today, were normal and would not affect the project.
One senior UPPCL official said that the 2,000- km-long gas pipeline between the Krishna Godavari basin in Andhra Pradesh and the project site in Dadri was required to be finished before the start of the project. But the work on it is yet to begin. The project, he argued, was bound to come up sooner. Besides, the REL has to distribute power to Delhi where it is one of the electricity suppliers. It will also require power in NOIDA that is to be developed as Special Economic Zone, with private participation. He claimed that the REL, the State Government and the UPPCL held a meeting recently. However, nobody knew what happened at the meeting, he added.