Jairam Ramesh launches NTPC's Barh mega power project stage-II

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New Delhi, Sept 20 (UNI) Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh today launched the National Thermal Power Corporation's (NTPC's) two units of 660 Mega Watts each of the second stage of Barh mega power project near Patna, which entails a total investment of Rs 7,340 crore.

The first unit will be commissioned in March 2012, while the second unit will be commissioned in January 2013.

''Both the supercritical 660 MW units are being supplied by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and these will be the first such units for the PSU,'' a statement said.

The Minister also inaugurated the site office of BHEL as well.

Barh Stage-I begun in February 2005 with three units of 660 MW each but it is considerably behind schedule primarily because of long-standing contractual disputes between NTPC and the Russian company Technopromexport (TPE), which is the turnkey contractor for the project.

TPE is supplying the boilers and another Russian company Power Machines is supplying the turbine-generators.

Unit 1 was supposed to have been commissioned by March 2009 but the current anticipated date is January 2011.

The other two units are also delayed by over two years. The total cost of Stage-I is Rs 8,700 crores, of which about Rs 3,000 crores has already been spent.

Material supply for the first unit is almost complete but erection work has yet to begin.

For the past few months, NTPC has been in dialogue with TPE to sort out the disputes over price and time escalations and get work resumed at the site.

But there has been ''no breakthrough'' and Mr Ramesh said that NTPC has now given time to TPE till September 24th before it starts adjudication proceedings as provided for in the contract.

He also added that it is a matter of the deepest regret that such a prestigious project has had to witness such delays and that he has personally intervened from time to time to ensure that the project is back on stream. This was his second visit to Barh in the last five months.

When all five 660 Mw units are fully functional, the Barh project spread over around 3,200 acres will be the single largest power generating complex of NTPC.

Over 98 per cent of the land has already been acquired. The associated transmission system is being implemented by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).

The foundation stone for the project had been laid by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vaypayee in March 1999.

The entire Barh saga is a very commentary on project implementation in the public sector, Mr Ramesh said after the visit to the project site along with senior officials of NTPC and BHEL.

He added that the saga is still continuing.

UNI BKS MP VC1715

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