PUNJAB IS all set to shut state-owned thermal power plants that have exceeded the 25-year-life span. This was decided at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday. It constituted a subcommittee to work out the modalities for the closure in view of the Central Electricity Agency’s (CEA) guidelines to retire non-viable thermal power plants (TPPs), said a government release.
The Cabinet sub-committee, to be headed by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, will have Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi as members. The panel has been given a fortnight to submit its report on the move to permanently shut down state-owned TPPs in Bathinda and Ropar. It has also been asked to make recommendations regarding the fate of the employees at these plants.
The government statement said the 460 MW Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant in Bathinda and Units 1 & 2 of the 1260 MW Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant in Ropar had become non-viable due to the use of obsolete technology coupled with high cost of power generation.
It also said that the Bathinda and Ropar units had been operating to a mere 10-15 per cent of their total capacity. The statement said the closure of the plants would not lead to any shortfall in power generation. With an annual power generating capacity of 13,900 MW units, Punjab is a power-surplus state and supplies would not be hit because of the closure, which in any case is slated for winter, when the demand for power is low. With a peak demand of just about 11,000 MW units, the state had a 2,000 MW surplus power generation this year.
In another decision, the Cabinet approved the cultural policy of the state thereby making Punjab the second state after Manipur to have a cultural policy. The policy, drafted on the basis of inputs, suggestions and recommendations received from stakeholders, would focus on inculcating cultural values among the people, said a government statement.
In another significant decision, the Cabinet approved of a one-time settlement policy for defaulter rice millers of the state, paving the way for the recovery of a significant portion of the Rs 3,500 crore outstanding against them. The move is expected to benefit the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 2,000-2,400 crore.
The Cabinet also approved the appointment of Indian woman cricketer and Arjuna Award winner Harmanpreet Kaur as DSP, while giving the go-ahead for government jobs to the two children of martyr Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh, who was killed while fighting an infiltration bid at the Line of Control in May.