Jharkhand power project to be delayed over NTPC-CIL differences

The dispute over shifting the site of National Thermal Power Corp's proposed 1980 MW power plant in Jharkhand's North Karanpura area will take another two to three months to resolve due to objections raised by the NTPC board, says a report. The ministries of coal and power were expected to take a decision on the new project site by the end of August.

The project was stalled after the ministry of coal found that the proposed plant in Chhapra district was in a coal-bearing area with reserves of over six billion tonnes. ''We are not ready to shift the site of our proposed power plant,'' an unnamed NTPC official told DNA newspaper. A coal ministry official confirmed NTPC is objecting to the proposed new sites for the power plant, according to the report.

''We want a win-win situation for both NTPC and Coal India Ltd. If NTPC builds a power plant over that site, CIL will lose huge coal reserves. We hope the issue would be resolved in the coming months,'' said the coal ministry official.

The project, spread over 2,500 acres and with an estimated investment of more than Rs8,000 crore, was planned nine years ago, but it could not take off due to the carving out of a separate Jharkhand state from Bihar. Following this, a Rs1,500-crore debt committed to the project by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation was cancelled.

In 2008, the ministry of coal objected to the project after Coal India Ltd said the project would block excavation of 6 billion tonnes of coal reserves that were discovered under the project site. In February this year, an inter-ministerial meeting between the ministries of coal and power, with representations from NTPC and Coal India had proposed alternate sites for the power project.

While NTPC had asked for some time to consider the proposal of shifting its power plant to the new site, off late the company board has taken a tough stance against the proposal.

The North Karanpura coalfield is spread over 1,230 square km and has proven reserves of 14 billion tonnes.