Karnataka to set up thermal plant in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Sep 8 (UNI) Ushering in inter-state cooperation in building power plants, the Karnataka government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chhattisgarh for seting up its own 1200 MW pit-head thermal power station in Janjgir-Champa district of the coal-rich state.

Under the agreement, Rs 6000 crore power plant, Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPC) would build near Godhna, for which Coal India Ltd would ensure coal supply, while water would be lifted from the Mahanadi river flowing just eight km from the plant site.

Speaking after the officials of KPC and the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board exchanged the documents, Chief Minister Raman Singh said the BJP government, in the newly-formed state, stood by the country's federal structure and the joint efforts of the two BJP-ruled states was in line with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dream of better inter-state collaborations for development.

''Karnataka proved lucky as the site at Godhna was earlier offered to the Delhi government for the same purpose. They couldn't make it but Karnataka will. We are ready to cooperate with Karnataka to help it tide over power shortage. At the same time, this project would also bring benefits for my state as this would create employment oppurtunities,'' he said.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the power project would be a major milestone in inter-state cooperation for development of the country. ''For any development, energy is required and shortage of power has hampered my state, which is the most progressive states,'' he said.

Karnataka embarked upon an ambitious plan of adding 5000 MW power in the next five years and the Godhna plant would be a major contributor. The work on the project would be started at the earliest, he said.

Seeking the cooperation of the people of Chhattisgarh and those in Janjgir-Champa district in particular, Mr Yeddyurappa said Karnataka would offer most remunerative compensation package through 'consent-award' system to those, who lose their land for this project.

''We have established the best standards of rehabilitation and re-settlement for those affected by development projects.

Our Upper Krishna project, where we spent more than Rs 3000 crore for relief and rehabilitation has been accepted as a model project by the World Bank,'' he added.

Karnataka Energy department Secretary K Jayaraj said the pit-head thermal plant would help the state save nearly Rs 600 crore per annum on cost of energy production. Generation cost at Godhna would be around Rs 2.40 per kilowatt, while it would come to Rs 3.90 per KW if the same project was built in the southern state as coal would have to be transported for a distance of 2000 km from Mahanadi coalfields.

''KPC would build another plant to produce 800 MW, once this plant was completed in a time frame of 48 months. Our unit will start producing power from October, 2012,'' Mr Jayaraj added.

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