A group of power engineers has suggested that the state government should buy the Rajpura-based Larsen and Turbo power plant (1400 MW) instead of constructing a super-critical thermal plant at Mukerian, Hoshiarpur. They said it will help the Punjab state power corporation limited (PSPCL) reduce electricity tariff by 50 paise per unit.
The state government has been planning to build a 1320-MW super-critical thermal power plant at Mukerian for the past six years, but the project has not moved an inch. Now, the Rajpura plant is on sale and the Punjab power engineers association (PPEA), a group formed after split in the Punjab state electricity board (PSEB) engineer’s association, want the PSPCL to jump on the opportunity.
PPEA engineers met PSPCL officials on Saturday and told them that by buying the plant, Punjab could save on the Rs 2,500 crore of fixed charges paid to private thermal plants and reduce power tariff. They said running the plant will not be a problem as it required cheap indigenous coal found in abundance at Pachwara central coal mine, which has reserves estimated to be above 450 million tonne. At present, the state-owned thermal plants consume only around 6 million tonne of coal.
PPEA president Bhupinder Singh and its secretary Abhiraj Randhawa insisted to PSPCL that the Mukerian project was a far dream as acquiring land for it was “nearly impossible”. They said buying the Rajpura plant will also generate employment.
The PPEA has also urged the PSPCL management to form a high-powered committee of experts from the fields of power generation, power purchase and finance to suggest ways to reduce the burden of fixed charges to private plants. It also raise the issue of upgrading the civil infrastructure of the sub-divisions, especially its rural areas, to improve services to consumers.