Centre to send an official team immediately to Marakkanam
CHENNAI: The Union Government will send an official team immediately to Tamil Nadu to study the possibility of setting up one more ultra mega power project, Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said on Wednesday.
After laying the foundation stone for a 1000-megawatt (MW) power plant to be executed by the NTPC Tamil Nadu Energy Company Limited (NTECL) at Vallur (about 25 km north of Chennai), Mr. Shinde told journalists that the team would survey the site at Marakkanam, the place suggested by State Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veerasamy earlier.[Projects of 4000-MW capacity are called ultra mega power projects.]
To a query, Mr. Veerasamy said the Centre had already finalised Cheyyur as the site for one ultra mega power project in the State. If the Union Government agreed to the State’s demand for one more project, there could be a common port for the two, as Marakkanam was 10 km away from Cheyyur. The proposed port could handle 30 million tonnes of imported coal.
Asked about the progress of other ultra mega power projects, the Union Minister replied that a meeting would be held on Thursday to review the matter.
Referring to the unit cost achieved for the ultra mega power project to be implemented in Madhya Pradesh, he said it had been fixed at Rs. 1.19. This was a new benchmark. It was demonstrative of the United Progressive Alliance Government’s resolve to provide cheaper power to people.
On the Cauvery Hydro Power Project, Union Power Secretary Anil Razdan said he would convene within 15 days Secretary-level talks involving Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
As part of the compensation package to project-affected people, Mr Shinde said the Union Government decided to enable the provision of training to unskilled or semi-skilled people. The project developers would be advised to consider candidates from such institutions first during campus recruitment. In Vallur, an industrial training institute would be set up.
Earlier, the Union Minister said the Centre would soon come out with a hydro electric power policy. Against the potential of 1,50,000 MW in the hydro power sector, the country had tapped about 30,000 MW so far.
Mr Veerasamy said that the TNEB received 18 proposals for merchant power plants with a capacity of 30,000 MW and if they were approved, wheeling charges would provide a revenue of Rs. 2,000 crore. This would set off the losses incurred by the Board, which was getting the Government’s grant of Rs. 1,500 crore towards the free power supply scheme.