Bikaner, Sep 8: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, Sep 8 inaugurated Rajasthan's first lignite 'opencast' mine of a total capacity of 2.1 million tonnes in Barsingsar village in Bikaner district. The lignite mine has been set up by 'Mini Ratna' Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) Limited.
The lignite mine will produce 250 Megawatts of power, 2190 million units of electricity per year, through two units of thermal power plant, of 125 MW each. While the first unit of the plant will be commissioned in December, the second would start functioning in March next year. Efforts are on to enhance the capacity to 1000 Megawatts in the coming years. The lignite mine has enough stocks to produce electricity for the next 33 years, said a senior NLC officer.
The power generated by the thermal power plant would meet the needs of around 12 districts of the state, said Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia while speaking on the occasion.
Rajasthan seems to be well placed as far as power generation in the near future is concerned, as the state will garner most of the nuclear power plants to be set up in the country once the Indo-US nuclear is inked.
NLCL is a pioneer in the field of opencast mining technology and operation of Lignite-based theral power plants. It has three lignite mines of total capacity of 24 million tones and thermal power plants of total capacity of 2490 Mega Watts in Neyveli town of Tamil Nadu.
Addressing the NLC workers and locals on the occasion, Sonia said that the UPA Government was committed to meet energy requirements of the nation, and that going ahead on the Nuclear Deal was a step in that direction. Seemingly in a poll mode ahead of the impending Assembly polls in the state, Sonia elaborated on the public schemes and programmes initiated by the UPA Government in the past four-and-a-half years, like Rozgar Guarantee Yojna, Right to Information Act, Tribals Bill, introduction of Women's Bill in the parliament.
Even as Rajasthan goes to polls in two months from now, Sonia's visit was more seen as a political one. She was accompanied by former State chief minister Ashok Gehlot, State PCC president PC Joshi, AICC Coordinator of Rajatshan affairs Ch Birender Singh, AICC Secretary Mukul Vasnik, and two union ministers from the state - Nomonarayan Meena and Sisram Ola. By Pankaj Yadav