If things move in the right direction, Jharkhand will emerge as the power production hub of eastern India in the next 10 years with a net installed capacity of around 16000MW. With the current peak requirement of 2200MW, the state’s internal demand is expected to double in the next 10 years and even then it would have over 10,000MW surplus power to supply to the national pool.
The calculation is no longer Utopian as work has started on two projects with a collective capacity of 5980MW – both of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), one at Patratu and other at Tandwa in Chatra. This apart, the 4000MW Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) in Deoghar has received the attention of the state government and chief minister Raghubar Das has taken up the matter with Union minister of state for power and coal (independent charge) Piyush Goyal seeking a direction to the Power Finance Corporation (PFC), which was appointed by the Centre to expedite the project.
During the fresh push given to power projects of Jharkhand, the state had to suffer two major blows — one in form of Reliance Power deciding to pull out from the 4000MW Tilaiya UMPP and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) putting brakes over the 1920MW power project coming up at Godda after the coal block allocated to it was cancelled and bagged by Adani Power in the course of re-auction.
The state has, however, been serious about both the projects and has expressed its commitment to go ahead with both of them. Chief secretary Rajiv Gauba said the process of land acquisition for the Tilaiya UMPP was fast tracked at the time when Reliance decided to pull out. “We may complete all the formalities for setting up the project and then approach interested parties to come through competitive rate bidding,” he said.
The issue of JSPL project has been taken up by Godda MP Nishikant Dubey, who has not just asked it to continue with the project but has also approached Adani Power to set up a power plant after bagging the Jitpur coal block. “The idea of taking away coal from Jharkhand to feed their plant at Mundra is not welcome and Adani should consider establishing a power generation unit in Jharkhand,” he had said.
Jharkhand, with an estimated reserve of eight billion tonne coal has not been able to add even a single mega watt of power production since its inception in 2000. Though some of the private players like Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Limited (APRNL), Inland Power and Abhijit Group have collectively added around 500MW to the state’s production, the domestic generation remained low because of poor plant load factor of the local units. The state’s own power production of approximately 650MW comprising 410MW of Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Limited, 120MW of PTPS and 120MW of Subarnarekha Hydal Project, Sikidiri has never been full to the capacity.
Lauding the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government at the Centre, Union minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha told TOI that it was because of the BJP government at the Centre and in state that the power scenario of Jharkhand is set to change. “Prime Minister inaugurated the work commencement of NTPC’s 1980MW Tandwa project pending for more than a decade while the memorandum of agreement for performance improvement and capacity expansion of PTPS to 4000MWs was signed with NTPC,” he said.