Patna, Nov 07: The Railways is all set to save about Rs 600 crore per annum as cost of electricity, once the proposed 1,000 MW mega power plant at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district of south Bihar starts generation under a joint venture agreement.
The proposed plant, to come up as the ''Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Ltd'' at an approximate cost of Rs 1500 crore, would be the first joint venture unit between the Railways and the public sector power giant - National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) - with equity partnership of 74 per cent and 26 per cent sharing between them.
Speaking after the signing of the joint venture agreement in New Delhi yesterday between the two public sector giants in presence of an eminent gathering, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said following the construction of the new plant, about 900 MW power would be used by the Railways alone, while the remaining 10 per cent would be earmarked for other users.
The electricity generated from the state-of-the art plant, situated about 150 km from here, would go a long way in running electric trains passing through Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, besides several other eastern and western states, official sources, quoting Mr Prasad, said.
Referring to the electrifcation of nearly 18,000 kms of more than 63,000 kms of the Railways network so far, Mr Prasad said the work for the electrification of the remaining portion of railway tracks around the country would be completed soon after the Nabinagar plant started power generation, expectedly within the next couple of years.
Incidentally, after the installation of the Dadri and Auriya power plants by the NTPC about seven years back, the running of electric locomotives through the busy Ghaziabad-Kanpur sections of the Northern Railway had been greatly improved, besides saving about Rs 50 crore annually for the Railways.
In order to derive full benefits of the ongoing reforms in power sector, the Railway Minister said a decision had been taken by his Ministry in consultation with the Power Ministry to set up several other power projects in joint venture with the NTPC.
''This is also the need of the hour especially in view of the nationwide demands for the construction of mega railway projects, including the proposed dedicated freight corridors across the country,'' the Railway Minister observed.