The Madras Sugars Ltd, owned by the Coimbatore-based Bannari Amman Group, has proposed to set up a bagasse-based co-generation plant in its sugar unit at Vengur in Thirukkoilur block near here.

The plant to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs.38 crore will generate 25 MW of electricity.

The captive power generation, thus proposed, is intended to meet the requirements of the sugar unit to the extent of 8 MW and to export the surplus of 17 MW to the State grid.

The information in this regard was shared by Solairaj, vice-president of the sugar unit, through a video presentation at the public hearing held here and presided by District Collector R.Palanisamy.

Mr. Solairaj stated that the bagasse obtained from the sugar unit would be utilised for the co-generation plant and during off-season when crushing would not take place the company would run the plant on coal.

It also proposed to set up a distillery unit alongside the co-generation plant project.

The discharge from the plant as well as the distillery could be recycled and put to productive use.

Mr. Solairaj gave an assurance that all pollution control norms would be fully complied with.

He said the company would also improve the basic amenities in the peripheral areas, construct additional classrooms, supply medical equipment to the government hospital and help the farmers in whichever way it could.

Social activists, environmentalists, local people and representatives of farmers who attended the public hearing put forth the demand that the company, after meeting its requirement, should set aside a portion of the power generated for Thirukkoilur block.

They also stated that since the company would be tapping water from the Pennaiyar there was a possibility of ground water level touching a low during summer months.

Hence, they called upon the company to make suitable alternative arrangements to ensure that adequate quantum of water was available for drinking as well as agricultural purposes.

The Collector intervened to say that as far as power sharing was concerned it was in the domain of the Tamil Nadu State Electricity Regulatory Commission and not within the ambit of the company.

However, he called upon the company to draft suitable project for tapping water, by keeping in mind the concerns expressed by the people, and also make adequate provision for it in its estimates.

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