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Thermal Power Project at banawali to have many firsts - PSEB

Talwandi Sabo/ Chandigarh, September 2, 2008

In the post-Independence Punjab's biggest one-time initiative in the thermal power sector, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today laid the foundation stone of the prestigious 1980 Mega Watt thermal power plant at Banawali, near Talwandi Sabo, marking a new phase in what Mr. Badal today described as "a thermal revolution of a magnitude unprecedented in the history not only of the state but of the entire country."

In a thermal power plant, Water is heated, steam is produced and used
to spin a turbine that operates a generator.

The occasion also turned to be an opportunity for Sukhbir to show -case his mercurial political charisma and organizational muscle. The youthful president of one of the oldest political parties in the country went the whole hog and challenged himself to roll out a spectacle at least ten times larger than the Congress rally in his father's political back yard at Lambi. Organisers of the Lambi rally had made much of their claim about a turn out of anything between thirty to forty thousand. Although the Akali claim of 5 to 7 lakh participants in today Sukhbir show may be somewhat on the higher side, independent observes were unanimous that the show of political strength had really dwarfed the congress rally, making it look like a routine single constituency affair. Sukhbir political stature is bound to go several notches higher after today' forceful display. He successfully demonstrated that despite the aberration of the last assembly poll, Malwa still remained an Akali stronghold.

The setting up of the Thermal Plant here also helped the ruling party score a crucial political point in their political debate with their rivals. The project, to be built at a basic cost of Rs 9000 crore and spread across a sprawling 2112 acres of land, would launch the state into the next orbit of super critical power infrastructure in order to boost generation capacity from the 6200 Mega Watts (MW) it had inherited in 2007 to a stunning 18503 MW by 2012. This would actually boost power availability by a incredible 300%. The Talwandi Sabo plant alone would meet 30% of the current power shortage in the state. It is scheduled to start generation in 2012.

Talking about the details of the Talwandi Sabo project, Mr. Sukhbir Singh said, " "No other state in the country has so far undertaken such massive and wide-ranging development initiative to boost its power generation by 300% in such a short span. And we are determined to put the requisite infrastructure on the ground well before we go back to the people for a mandate in 2012," said a confident Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)

This is by far the most ambitious and boldest initiative yet in the past sixty years. While the total power generation capacity, meant drive to take Punjab into the next orbit of s 1980 MW Thermal Power Plant near Talwandi Sabo is expected to be the harbinger of a veritable "Power Revolution" in Punjab, it marks the beginning of a major power generation thrust to make Punjab self-reliant on the energy front which also forms the cornerstone of SAD-BJP Government's development agenda. The Government has planned a net addition of 7500 MW of power generation capacity in the next 3-4 years which if achieved would not only help bridge the over 30% present deficit between peak power demand and availability in the State but would also make the State surplus in power for the next decade or so.

The SAD-BJP government has repeatedly asserted that it is poised to fulfill its pre-election commitment to make Punjab the country's first power surplus state in the next three and half years.

The present impetus on power generation represents a paradigm shift over time in the State Government's approach towards the power sector. After the enactment of the Electricity Act in 2003 by the Union Government, the State Government's approach was more market-oriented, based upon the premise that it would be more economical to purchase power from producers near ports or pit-heads than to generate thermal power within Punjab . However, in the absence of perfect market conditions coupled with nation-wide shortage of power and fast rising power needs of the State, this led to burgeoning of gap between demand and supply forcing the cash-strapped Board to undertake major power purchases, often at exorbitant rates.

The present Government has embarked upon setting up a series of new power plants at Talwandi Sabo (1980 MW), Rajpura (1320 MW) and Gidderbaha (2640 MW) to bridge this yawning gap. While land acquisition proceedings in the case of Rajpura are nearing completion, in the case of Gidderbaha plant, notification under Section 4 has been issued earlier in August. In addition, work on GVK's Goindwal Sahib (540 MW) Thermal Plant is also expected to commence in October with land having been acquired and handed over to the company. The next four-five months would be witness to the commencement of work on all these power projects. The Phase IV of Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant (250 MW) is presently undergoing trials and is likely to enter commercial production by October. In addition, the State has already inked agreements to secure over 4500 MW of power as its share in Central Power Projects as well as from Independent Power Producers.

On the other hand, giving details of the 1980 MW Talwandi Sabo Thermal Power Plant, PSEB Member (Finance & Accounts) Anurag Aggarwal who is also the CMD of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Talwandi Sabo Power Limited stated that the plant would be hitherto the biggest Thermal Power Plant in the State. The Super Critical Thermal Power Plant, which is being constructed by Sterlite Energy Limited of Vedanta Group on Build, Own, Operate (BOO) basis, would entail an investment of over Rs. 9000 crore. The Vedanta Group is an international $ 8.2 billion conglomerate having business interests in Aluminum, Zinc, Power and other areas and is currently operating power plants with installed capacity of 1383 MW in India with another 2400 MW plant under construction in Orissa.

Using the most contemporary technology, the Talwandi Sabo Plant would be energy-efficient utilizing 15% less coal and eco-friendly by adhering to the strict pollution norms for the industry. Its iconic 275 metre tall chimney would be highest in the State. He stated that the bid document provides for a 48 month time period for commissioning of the Plant and PSEB has incorporated very attractive incentive clauses to secure its early completion. It is, therefore, hoped that the first 660 MW Unit of the Plant would be commissioned by December 2011 and the other two units of 660 MW each by mid-2012, he added.


§ Hitherto biggest Thermal Power Plant in Punjab

§ First Power Project through Open Bid route

§ To be set upon BOO basis by Sterlite Energy Limited of Vedanta Group – a US $ 8.2 B conglomerate

§ Capital investment of over Rs. 9000 crore

§ First Super Critical Technology Plant in Punjab

§ Tallest Stack height of 275 metre (1000 feet)

§ Eco-friendly technology, no fly ash

§ Likely commissioning from December 2011

§ Part of 7500 MW power generation programme


Chandigarh September 2, 2008

State Vigilance Bureau, in a drive against corruption in public life, nabbed one Gazetted Officers (GO) 16 Non-Gazetted Officers (NGOs) in 16 different cases last month and was able to secure the conviction of five accused in different cases.

Disclosing this here today Mr. Harcharn Singh Bhullar, SSP-cum-Joint Director (Admn.) Vigilance Bureau Punjab said that Bureau has put up its best efforts to eradicate corruption amongst public servants and others in every sphere in the State. In this direction, the Vigilance officers have registered trap cases, disproportionate assets cases and criminal cases and ensured that suspect did not escape judicial punishment in the various courts in the State.

He said that during the month of August, VB had registered 4 criminal cases, three Vigilance enquiries and one disproportionate assets case against the suspected officials to probe into the allegations. In the last month, the Special courts had convicted six accused including five NGOs after founding them guilty on graft charges and imprisoned one year to two years jail terms with fine. In case of default in depositing fine, the accused have to undergo more imprisonment.






Daily Punjab press release