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Monday, July 06, 2020

Govt to sell Bathinda thermal plant land

The government-owned thermal plant was shut down two years ago as the government had termed it a ‘white elephant’.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: June 23, 2020 12:18:55 pm
Govt to sell Bathinda thermal plant land The plant was shut down in 2018 as per modalities worked out by a sub-committee set up on August 24, 2017. Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh

The Punjab government has decided to sell 1,764 acres of the Bathinda thermal power plant, 50 years after it was commissioned to mark the 500 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

The Punjab Cabinet on Monday gave the nod for redevelopment of the land which will now be acquired by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), under the department of housing and urban development through a 80:20 revenue sharing scheme with PSPCL, which is the owner of the land.

“PUDA has also been allowed by the Cabinet to raise a loan of upto Rs 100 crore for development and sale of the site with state guarantee,” a government statement said.

The government-owned thermal plant was shut down two years ago as the government had termed it a ‘white elephant’. The move had invited protests from the Opposition which had said that the government had shut down its own plant at a time when drawing power from private thermal plants was a huge issue in the state.

The plant was shut down in 2018 as per modalities worked out by a sub-committee set up on August 24, 2017. The government had stated that it was being done in view of Central Electricity Agency (CEA) guidelines to retire non-viable Thermal Power Plants (TPPS) that have exceeded 25-year life span.

Subsequently, another Cabinet sub-committee was set up on May 18, 2020, with the housing and urban development minister, industries and commerce minister and local government minister as members, to work out the modalities of the redevelopment of the Bathinda plant land.

The Congress had however promised in its manifesto that it would strengthen government-owned plants and take action in controversial Power Purchase Agreements with private plants. Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal had also made a promise to people of his Bathinda constituency that their thermal plant would be strengthened.

The state government decided to redevelop the site to bring prosperity to the area by maximising direct and indirect employment generation opportunities.

The PSPCL board passed a resolution to hand over the land (barring the areas under the colony which is spread over approximately 280 acre) to PUDA for its appropriate development and sale under the 80:20 profit sharing scheme.

Under the scheme, 80 per cent profit from the sale of developed land, over and above the notional value of the land, goes to owner i.e. PSPCL in this case and 20 per cent is retained by PUDA for its role as developer and for branding.

PUDA will rope in the services of professional agency/agencies to advise it on the best possible utilisation of different parcels of the land.

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