Power plant in Vilasrao's turf gets Cabinet nod | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Power plant in Vilasrao's turf gets Cabinet nod

Ashok Chavan seems keen to make up with the man he replaced as chief minister.

mumbai Updated: Oct 07, 2010 02:16 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Ashok Chavan seems keen to make up with the man he replaced as chief minister.

On Wednesday, Chavan granted Union heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh his wish: The state Cabinet approved Deshmukh’s proposal that Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and state-owned Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Company (Mahagenco) join hands and construct a 1,500MW thermal power plant in his hometown Latur.

There has been a lot of political sparring between Chavan and Deshmukh ever since Chavan took over his position as the state CM in 2008. Wednesday’s move suggests that the CM is reaching out to Deshmukh.

A month ago, pushed by Deshmukh’s supporters, Chavan had conceded Rs 800 crore as development grant for Latur, something that Deshmukh had approved when he was the chief minister.

The joint venture project will supply power to the entire state, including Mumbai’ eastern suburbs, and is expected to help the state reduce the demand-supply gap between 3,000MW and 4,000MW. Deshmukh, who heads BHEL, had announced the plan in 2009. Several queries from the state government side had delayed the approval for the joint venture, sources said. “I expect the project to come up in the next two years because BHEL’s direct involvement will fasten the completion of the project,” he said.

“We will register the company in two months. I foresee no problem because farmers are ready to give up their land. Also, BHEL is a company that earned Rs 5,000 crore profit last year.” BHEL is the sole supplier of power generation equipment in India.

The state has asked the promoters to determine the plant’s capacity depending on fuel availability, but Deshmukh said he would go for a gas-based 1,500MW project. “A gas line from the Krishna-Godavari basin passes through Latur and the Union petroleum ministry has agreed to make gas available from that source,” he said.

A government release said it would take Rs 6,750 crore to build the plant. Chavan was unavailable for comment.