In a move to check the galloping power crisis in the state, the UP government has sent a proposal to the Union power ministry to set up a 4000 MW ultra-mega thermal power plant (UMTPP) in Karchana tehsil of Allahabad.
This is the second site after Etah that the state government has suggested for the UMTPP, nearly two months after the Centre decided to set up five such plants across the county. While the Etah project is still on, UP has pitched Karchana as another potential site for the mega plant.
Confirming the development, power secretary Sanjay Prasad, who is also the managing director of UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam, said that the plant, if taken up by the Centre, would easily get coal linkage besides generating power at a lower cost. “The state would also be benefitted by the generation in a significant way,” Prasad told TOI. Sources in the state government said that the issue was recently taken up with the Union power and coal minister Piyush Goyal, who has agreed to get the site examined. “A final decision will be taken after the Centre examines the site and makes necessary coal allocation,” Prasad said.
The new proposal comes days after UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asked the energy department to send a proposal to the Centre for setting up a UMTPP. Last year, in September 2014, a team of officials from the central electricity authority (CEA) inspected a site in Etah district. The team, while evaluating the techno-economic aspects for a UMTPP, took into account the location, availability of land and water, coal availability and its transportation, environmental consideration, power evacuation and water availability. The site in Karchana was initially proposed for a 1980 MW thermal power plant during the BSP regime in 2007.
The project was to be developed in two phases — the first comprised two units of 660 MW each while the second phase proposed another unit of 660 MW. Coal required for the plant was to be sourced from the Singrauli coal mines in Madhya Pradesh, while the water supply was to be made from river Yamuna. In 2009, the project was handed over to the JP group while forming a special purpose vehicle (SPV), Sangam Power Generation Company Limited. It was decided, that Sangam Power will sell 90% of the power to the state government while the remaining 10 percent may be sold to consumers in open market.
The project however, faced a raging protest of farmers over acquisition of land forcing the company to pull out of the agreement two years later, in 2011. Subsequently, the state initiated talks with the NTPC for taking over the project. With not much headway, the project was eventually handed over to the state owned UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam. Ever since, the site has been lying unutilized.