Coming up in Bihar, thermal, biomass power plants

April 14th, 2011 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, April 14 (IANS) Electricity-starved Bihar is setting up five thermal power plants of 7,000 MW capacity and others based on gas and biomass, say officials adding the sector has attracted private investment worth hundreds of crores of rupees.

“More than anything, Bihar attracted private investment in the power sector till March 31,” said an official of the Bihar State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB).

The thermal power plants, of 1,320 MW each, will be set up at Kajra in Lakhisarai, Piparpainti in Bhagalpur, Areraj in East Champaran and one in Banka district. Besides, a plant of 2,640 MW will be set up at Rajauli in Nawada district.

“The proposal for establishing five new thermal power plants has been approved by the government,” an official said.

According to official sources, the plant in Lakhisarai is estimated to cost Rs.8,343 crore, Piparpainti Rs.7,374 crore, Areraj Rs.7,300 crore, Banka Rs.7,960 crore and Rajauli power plant Rs.14,800 crore.

SIPB officials said investment proposals to set up gas- and biomass-based power plants in Rohtas, Gaya and Kaimur districts have also been cleared.

Industry Minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha said changing Bihar had attracted private investors.

“Big and small industrialists are showing a keen interest in Bihar after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar initiated measures to develop infrastructure, including power,” she said.

After fulfilling the dream of good roads in Bihar in his first term as chief minister, Nitish Kumar now wants to make a difference in the power sector during his second stint.

The government has started pushing major investment projects from January 2006. An official at the chief minister’s office said the government was now regularly receiving new investment proposals from industrialists.

“After roads, the power sector is a priority of Nitish Kumar for the development of Bihar,” an official in the chief minister’s office said.

In view of the shortage of power, Nitish Kumar has also asked top officials to review progress in procuring power from unconventional energy sources.

During the election campaign for the October-November assembly polls last year, Nitish Kumar had promised to light up every village of the power-starved state by 2015.

Millions in Bihar are still living in the lantern age as electricity has become a luxury for people in most parts. Capital Patna is an exception of sorts, but most small towns and district headquarters are badly hit by the power shortage.

Protests against acute power shortage have broken out in Bihar since last month, with reports of hundreds of people blocking roads, ransacking electricity board offices and burning tyres.

While the state has a daily requirement of 2,200-2,500 MW, it produces only 45-50 MW of power. The central government supplies around 750 to 900 MW. The state is facing a power deficit of around 1,000-1,200 MW a day, officials said.

Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav has said time and again the power situation cannot improve unless Bihar’s own generation and central allocation is increased substantially.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in)

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