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State to get more power

Electricity-starved Maharashtra could receive more supply in future. The Centre has approved the expansion of the Dabhol power plant and decided to increase its gas-fired [fired by natural gas as against coal] capacity by 1,500 to 2,000 mega watts (MW).

mumbai Updated: Jan 28, 2010 00:46 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Electricity-starved Maharashtra could receive more supply in future.

The Centre has approved the expansion of the Dabhol power plant and decided to increase its gas-fired [fired by natural gas as against coal] capacity by 1,500 to 2,000 mega watts (MW).

Maharashtra is facing a power shortfall of 3,000 MW to 3,500 MW. The new project will boost its distribution capacity and help it become a power surplus state by 2012-13.

Union Power Secretary H. S. Brahma, who was in Mumbai on Wednesday, confirmed that the plan had been approved. “We will decide the date for laying the foundation,” said Brahma. “We also need to decide on stakeholders in the new venture.” Brahma heads the task force that will decide on the partners in the project and other matters.

The new project, which will take three years to be ready, will cost Rs 4.5 crore per MW. The foundation stone may be laid in March.

The old 2,100-MW project is partly operational at Dabhol. The new plant will come up on the same premises.

Maharashtra will benefit the most if the new venture is with the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Ltd (RGPPL) that runs the existing plant. Maharashtra buys all the power that the RGPPL generates.

However, a senior bureaucrat said that the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) wanted to promote the new plant on its own and the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has also insisted on a major stake.

If NTPC gets the plant, Maharashtra’s share will reduce because a considerable portion will go to the Centre’s pool.
The RGPPL, formed three years ago to revive the Dabhol project, is a joint venture between the NTPC, GAIL, the Maharashtra government and financial institutions.

Another government official said that the state will insist that RGPPL run the new plant. “The government will go in for a stake,” he said adding that RGPPL is most likely to get the project.

An RGPPL official also said the company was confident and that the foundation will be laid on March 22.