State-run BHEL on Tuesday said it will invest Rs 500 crore for setting up a manufacturing facility at Bhandara in Maharashtra. "BHEL is setting up a new Power Equipment Fabrication Plant at Bhandara in Maharashtra. The greenfield unit is being set up by the company at an initial investment of Rs 500 Crore and will provide direct employment to about 700 persons," BHEL said in a statement. The foundation stone for the new unit was laid at Bhandara on Tuesday by Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The ceremony was presided over by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Praful Patel and BHEL Chairman & Managing Director B Prasada Rao were also present on the occasion, the statement said. In his address, Chavan said that electricity is one of the most vital elements for sustained economic growth. "We need commensurate growth in power supply and BHEL has taken various capacity and capability building initiatives towards this. Today's milestone is an outcome of such initiatives," Chavan said. "Power is projected to grow at a much quicker pace in the coming years.
The government has drawn up ambitious plans for adding additional 2,34,000 MW capacity to the power generating base by 2017," Pawar said in his address. Praful Patel said that BHEL's technology tie-up for super- critical boilers for 800 MW units is one such example which will enable the company to cater to the requirements of power stations with higher efficiencies and low emissions. The company has already enhanced its capability to deliver 20,000 MW of power equipments per annum in line with the requirements of the nation. "BHEL contributes over 60 per cent to the total power generating capacity of 13,398 MW in Maharashtra. In addition, BHEL is currently executing 7,700 MW of power projects in Maharashtra at various sites like Chandrapur, Parli, Mauda, Amravati, and Nasik," Rao said in his speech. He said that the land acquisition process (for Bhandara plant) is in advanced stages of completion and the construction of the factory will start now.