Almost A year after closure of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), Bathinda, Punjab government has decided to run a 100 MW solar power project on 250 acres of land of thermal plant which was used to dump flyash within this complex. This solar power plant will be operated on build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) system in which a private company will be hired to set up this power plant and land of power plant will be given at Rs 1 per acre lease for 25 years to the company.
Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA) has been authorised to take part in the bidding process for allotting the land to private company and the PEDA officials had visited thermal plant site on Sunday as well. Once the project is finalised, the company will be selling power to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) after generating it. Decision regarding this solar power plant was taken in a board of directors meeting held in August this year. On January 1, 2018, four units of thermal plant were closed, though project to run one of its unit on paddy stubble has been approved.
GNDTP thermal plant union president, Gursewak Singh, said, “This was the decision of the previous government that they wanted to privatise solar power project as they had given thermal plants in private hands in Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura. However, Congress had then objected to this move, but now they have approved the same….we will start a protest if solar power project is given in private hands.”
A memorandum had been sent by the employees’ joint forum to Baldev Singh Saran, Chairman cum Managing director (CMD) of PSPCL. When contacted, the CMD said, “We have no expertise in running solar power projects. PEDA is the nodal agency for the same and hence they have been authorised to take part in bidding process. This project is an old agreement and we have done nothing new. Our paddy stubble project is already in pipeline and hence employees need not to worry.”