CWC to study water supply scheme to NTPC plant

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Raipur, Apr 20 (UNI) The Chhattisgarh government and National Thermal Power Corporation today agreed to end a row over water supply to NTPC's thermal power plant at Sipat by deciding to approach the Central Water Commission (CWC) to conduct a feasibility study on drawing water from the Mahanadi.

Union Minister of State for Power P Jairam Ramesh told reporters, after a meeting with Chief Minister Raman Singh, that it was decided to request the CWC to conduct a joint study about various aspects, including legal and regulatory issues, and cost involved.

''The NTPC was slated to commission its first 500-MW Sipat unit last October and the second one of similar capacity in March-April this year,'' he said.

However, the state regime declined to supply water from the Hasdeo Bango dam for the Sipat plant, arguing that it would deprive 60,000 acres and would adversely affect agricultural production in the area.

Mr Ramesh said the state government suggested that NTPC could lay its own 50-km pipeline from the project site to the Mahanadi rather than depending on the Hasdeo Bango irrigation project as its water availability declined over the years.

Besides, the state regime is also maintaining that it could ensure availability to the Sipat project from Hasdeo Bango only for a short period of two to three years and the NTPC should use the time to lay the pipeline from the Mahanadi.

Referring to rehabilitation and resettlement of those being displaced by the NTPC's 2,980-MW project, the Minister said NTPC had already provided jobs to 117 unskilled people.

''We are ready to provide training stipend to 383 people over three years. Once they qualify the relevant trade examinations, they will be absorbed in regular jobs,'' he added.

The country's largest power producer NTPC is building a 2,980 MW thermal plant with three units of 660 MW each and two units of 500 MW each on a 4,300-acre stretch in Bilaspur's Sipat.

The Sipat project would be the country's first project to operate on super-critical boilers that burn lesser fuel to generate the same quantity of power compared to conventional boilers.

Once commissioned, the Sipat project is expected to ease the decade-old electricity crisis in several states, particularly the country's western region covering Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

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