TAMIL NADU

More allocation of natural gas sought

Special Correspondent

PONDICHERRY: : L. Joseph Mariadoss, Chairman, Power Corporation Limited, plans to meet Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar in New Delhi shortly to seek more allocation of natural gas for the plant at Karaikal to raise its generation capacity.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Mariadoss, a former Education Minister, said the Corporation planned to raise production by 100 Mega Watts at an estimated cost of Rs. 400 crores. This needed 4.85 lakh cubic metres of gas a day. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry allotted only three lakh cubic metres a day and, that too, on a "fallback basis."

Once the capacity was raised by 100 MW, the plant will meet the power needs of Karaikal.

Mr. Mariadoss said he requested the Ministry to allocate at least 2.5 lakh cubic metres a day on a "firm basis" so that an additional plant to produce 50 MW at a cost of Rs. 180 crores could be established.

The corporation, incorporated in 1993, was generating 32.5 MW at T.R. Pattinam near Karaikal. The Rs. 131.29-crore plant was getting 1.84 lakh cubic metres of gas a day from the wells at Narimanam through an agreement with the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).

Mr. Mariadoss said power generation was 275.42 million units as against the target of 235 million units fixed by the Centre for 2004-2005.

Managing Director Shankar Raman said the plant achieved the highest average plant load factor of 96.74 per cent during 2004-2005.

Mr. Mariadoss, the first non-official chairman of the Corporation, which began operation in 2000, said the Corporation was making profits since the inception and had been paying dividend to the Pondicherry Government since 2001-2002.

It earned Rs. 14.34 crores during 2003-2004 and paid a dividend of Rs. 1.72 crores.

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