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EGoM gives nod for LNG to Dabhol project

The empowered group of ministers on the Dabhol project decides that all the three blocks of the Ratnagiri Power Project will run on liquefied natural gas, reports Pradip Kumar Maitra.

business Updated: Apr 30, 2007 21:28 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra

Good news for the power starved state of Maharashtra! The empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on the Dabhol project has decided that all the three blocks of the Ratnagiri Power Project (previously known as Dabhol project) will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), informed the minister for External Affairs, Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the EGoM.

The statement of the union minister carries significance as this for the first time that the EGoM has said that LNG would be available for running the Dabhol plant in full capacity. Till now union Power minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde had been citing unavailability of LNG as the major hurdle for the revival of Dabhol plant.

Mukherjee, who was in Nagpur to participate in a literary conference, informed that the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has given an assurance to supply adequate LNG for all the three blocks of Dabhol project.

A problem had cropped in Gujarat for a stretch of about 15 km due to land acquision, compensation and other issues. The union minister said that he had instructed the Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi on Saturday to hold talks with Gujarat government to expedite the state clearances for a stretch of pipeline that is to feed gas from Petronet’s import terminal at Dahlej to the Dabhol project in the state.

When asked about the tentative date of commissioning of the project, the EGoM head said that nothing could be said still the pipeline was ready. "Once the pipeline is ready, LNG will start flowing in with in 15 to 20 days," he pointed out.

The power crisis in Maharashtra is indeed unnerving industries and public at large. It has been suffering with power cuts of seven to nine hours in smaller towns and villages across the state and four to six hours in cities like Nagpur and Aurangabad.

In Vidarbha region, where daily temperatures of 45 degrees are being recorded in this summer, there is no electricity for more than 12 hours a day in villages. The data shows that while the overall load deficit is 9 per cent across the country, the industrial state of Maharashtra it is as high as 20 per cent.

The supply of 2,150 MW from Dabhol project may bridge half the power shortfall in the state. The revival of Dabhol project is also vital for the state’s economy, as the state government has not planned much capacity addition in the next three years. Presently, only one block of the project is running on naphtha that produces very costly power.

First Published: Apr 30, 2007 21:26 IST