Power minister visits Durgapur project limited

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State power minister Manish Gupta during his maiden visit of the state-owned power utility Durgapur Projects Limited (DPL) expressed his concern over the production scenario at DPL. The minister asserted that this dark phase has to be defeated somehow.

Meanwhile, DPL managed to generate 47 MW of power yesterday after six consecutive days of zero generation. This has drawn wide criticism from labour unions as the generation of power using the vintage unit 3 has resulted in a loss of 5.5 lakhs in just 12 hours.

DPL has been in messes since more than a month as its power generating units collapsed one after another and the power utility has been meeting its domestic needs by procuring power from the national grid. Even yesterday, when the minister was meeting the top DPL officials, the company bought 170 MW of power from the grid.

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The situation deteriorated further especially after the failure of its mainstay unit 7 on December 31. This unit erected by Chinese power infrastructure major Dongfang Electricals has the ill-reputation of repeated collapse.

After meeting with the top DPL officials, state power minister Manish Gupta while speaking to the media persons announced the following five strategic decisions.

Firstly, he said that there will be a complete shutdown of unit 7 which have been the main power generating unit of DPL for complete overhauling at an estimated cost of INR 10 crore.

Secondly, the power minister stressed upon the need of commissioning of the 250 MW eighth unit of DPL. He said that the eighth unit that is under commissioning by PSU major BHEL is expected to be ready by July this year.

Thirdly, the minister hinted that the DPL’s proposal of leasing out its unused land where housing, shopping plazas and Information Technology Park is likely to get an early clearance from the Chief Minister’s office. This, he said will help DPL earn additional revenue and allow repayment of the loan of INR 2500 crores it owes to Power Finance Corporation.

On a fourth issue relating to setting up of a proposed ninth unit to generate electricity using coal-bed methane, the power minister said: “I will convey the proposal to the government. If the cabinet approves the plan, we will commission the 300MW unit in two-and-a-half years. The plant will be pollution-free.” He also added by saying: “Multinational exploration giant Essar who has started extracting methane in this sub-region have agreed to provide required gas for the proposed unit.”

The gas-based unit, according to the minister, will also help DPL earn significant carbon-credit that has been made a mandatory provision by the Green Bench.

On a fifth issue relating to bifurcation of DPL, the power minister Manish Gupta ruled out any possibility of split of state owned Durgapur Projects Limited. He said: “We don’t have any such plan. Rather we have beefed up for further renovation of the Coke Oven unit.”

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