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Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022

Punjab shuts its oldest power plant at Bathinda

Though the Bathinda unit had shut operations in September this year, the cabinet gave its final nod following a report of the sub-committee comprising cabinet ministers Manpreet Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi.

With the decision, all units of 460-MW Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) at Bathinda and Unit-1 and 2 (2×210 MW) of 1260-MW Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, will be shut down from January 1. Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh

The Punjab cabinet Wednesday gave a green signal to permanent closure of its oldest power plant in Bathinda and two units of Ropar plant while adjusting its employees in Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). Though the Bathinda unit had shut operations in September this year, the cabinet gave its final nod following a report of the sub-committee comprising cabinet ministers Manpreet Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi. Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had laid out certain guidelines to phase out all fuel-based thermal plants older than 25 years. These plants were not meeting the minimum environmental and emission norms.

With the decision, all units of 460-MW Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) at Bathinda and Unit-1 and 2 (2×210 MW) of 1260-MW Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, will be shut down from January 1. While the Bathinda plant is over 43 years old, the two units of Ropar plant facing closure are 33 years old. The units were unviable as the power was available for Rs 2.47 to 2.97 per unit in the open market while PSPCL was spending Rs 3.57 to Rs 4.43 on production of every unit of electricity in these units. Hence, these units were normally unoperational and put into operations only when the daily demand crossed 11,000 MW.

The sub-committee took a lenient view on the employees including those on contractual posts suggesting they should be adjusted.
The government has decided that they would be absorbed in Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL) and Independent Power Producer (IPPs) namely GVK, TSPL, NPL in the same capacity. The Bathinda plant alone has about 2000 employees. To ensure there was no shortage of power, the Cabinet decided to enhance generation with wind power, solar power and other sources of renewable energy.

The cabinet mandated PSPCL to explore the possibility of establishing 5×800 MW Supercritical Technology at Ropar in near future to further boost power generation in the state. Badal announced that the state government would provide power to the industry at Rs 5 per unit from January 1 onwards to fulfil its promise of providing power subsidy to attract more industry in the state. He said Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh had informed the cabinet about his meeting with the industrialists on Tuesday.

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The subsidy would cost the state exchequer Rs 1,500 crore per year, said the minister. In another decision to expedite the levying of entertainment tax on cable network and direct to home (DTH) networks at Rs 5 per connection, the cabinet approved the “The Punjab Entertainments & Amusements Taxes (Levy & Collection by Local Bodies) Ordinance, 2017”. To shorten the process and levy the tax, the cabinet approved the ordinance Wednesday. The tax would be implemented as soon as the Governor gives his assent.

First published on: 21-12-2017 at 02:19:04 am
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