Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 13, 2018-Thursday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Capt Amarinder clears air, says no rethink on closure of Bathinda thermal plant

Quest for cheaper electricity: CM says no employee will lose his job, shutdown decision taken due to lack of power demand in state and availability of cheaper power from alternative sources.

punjab Updated: Jan 22, 2018 09:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Amarinder Singh,Bathinda power plant,Punjab news
Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Plant in Bathinda(HT File)

Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday ruled out reversal of the government’s decision to close down the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), Bathinda, pointing to the non-feasibility of continuing operations.

In a statement, Amarinder explained the circumstances that led to the closure of the Bathinda plant and two units of the Rupnagar thermal plant, saying the decision had to be taken mainly due to lack of power demand in the state and availability of cheaper power from other alternative sources.

He said the work order had already been placed on consultant — Steag Energy India Pvt Ltd, Noida — for conducting a detailed feasibility report for three units of 800MW at Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Plant (GGSSTP), Rupnagar.

Though the state has become power surplus, generation capacity is utilised fully only during the paddy season of four months, and for the remaining eight months, the power remains underutilised.

After coming to power, the Amarinder government decided to dismantle the Bathinda plant and two units of the Rupnagar thermal plant terming them unviable. The government also decided to build a new plant with super critical plant technology at Rupnagar. Before the assembly polls, finance minister and Bathinda MLA Manpreet Badal promised that the plant would not be shut.

Staring at retrenchment, employees, particularly the contractual staff, have been protesting against the government’s decision of shutting down the thermal plants.

Reiterating that no employee would lose his job because of the closure and all workers would be accommodated within the region, Amarinder said after closing down plant operations completely, the surplus manpower of the Bathinda plant shall be utilised on other works where there is shortage of staff.

“This will increase productivity as it will stop increase of power generation cost over the year, resulting in savings for Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, since power from the Bathinda plant was generated at a very high cost as compared with the overall cost of electricity in the PSPCL,” said Amarinder.

He said that no retrenchment of the staff – regular or contractual — shall be done and all of them shall be adjusted suitably in the nearby locations, with full pay protection.

Giving details of the power situation in the state, the CM said power demand in Punjab varies widely during paddy and non-paddy seasons. In 2016, the maximum demand was recorded at 11,600MW in summer months and 5,600MW in winters. In winters, there is a lot of variation in the day and night time demand, with the latter coming down to around 3,000MW, he added.

Though the state has become power surplus, generation capacity is utilised fully only during the paddy season of four months, and for the remaining eight months, the power remains underutilised.

The CM said the thermal plant is of old design and requires more manpower for operation as compared to new power plants, which are fully computerised.

At present, new plants are being installed with higher capacity units such as 660MW and 800 MW, he said, adding the old plants also require more maintenance and the performance of equipment comes down with the passage of time.

With change in technology, a lot of developments are taking place in the area of wind and solar energy, the CM said, underlining the importance of shifting to alternative sources of energy in the interest of the state.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 19:31 IST