Monarchak power project set to be commissioned in Tripura

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Agartala, Feb 28 (UNI) The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has agreed to provide natural gas for the 104 MW Monarchak gas-based power project in west Tripura and assured to go for gas purchase accord with the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) soon, which will commission the project.

Talking to mediapersons here today, state Power Minister Manik Dey said after a four-year long uncertainty, the ONGC had proceeded for the gas seal agreement, as the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had approved the NEEPCO's fresh Detailed Project Report (DPR) that had been submitted in August.

He said the state government would help the NEEPCO get the project commissioned at the earliest.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had asked the NEEPCO to re-examine the financial viability of the 280 MW Monarchak combined cycle power project following the gas price hike and finally cleared it following the CEA's approval.

However, NEEPCO officials stated that they were ready to purchase gas from the ONGC even though it hiked the price of natural gas for the project and the proposed project cost was Rs 450 crore in the new DPR.

The then Power Minister Mr Suresh Prabhu, during the NDA regime, laid the foundation for the 540 MW project in Monarchak in 2003.

However, the entire project was held up following the opposition of the Union Finance Ministry and Cabinet Committee in the UPA government, the NEEPCO officials said.

They opposed the project, stating that Monarchak was not financially viable, however, the NEEPCO had given clearance for 750 MW gas-based power project in Palatana in South Tripura to the ONGC, which was launched by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in September 2005.

Finally, the MPs from the Northeast jointly moved the Prime Minister for revival of Monarchak and with the intervention of Dr Singh, the Union Finance Ministry cleared the project, officials stated.

Meanwhile, NEEPCO officials indicated that the Union Power Ministry was considering to hand over the proposed 750 MW combined gas-based Palatana power project in South Tripura to NEEPCO because of its experience with power projects in the region.

The ONGC, which will supply gas to the power plant, is reportedly eyeing a stake in the project.

UNI BB DPM/src1102

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