More than a decade old, National Thermal Power Corporation’s 1,980 MW North Karanpua Super Thermal Power Project (STPP), at Tandwa in Chatra district of Jharkhand, is likely to see the light of the day following the approval by the Centre’s cabinet committee on Investment (CCI), recently. The proposed STPP envisaged by the state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Jharkhand, had earlier virtually been shelved, as after constitution of the new Jharkhand state in 2000, two successive governments of the state failed to acquire 2,600 acres of land required for setting up the 1,960 MW STPP despite a team of officials led by the general manager of the NTPC met the then chief minister Madhu Koda and apprised him the problems facing the proposed acquisition of land for the STPP at Chandwa. The NTPC team had also informed the then chief minister that the proposed power project was held up because of indifferent attitude of the officials of the revenue and land reforms department. In order to appease the people of Jharkhand, the Centre had sanctioned another 4,000 MW ultra-mega thermal plant for Jharkhand to build own and operate (BOO) model at an estimated cost of Rs 16,000 crore for which coal linkage would come from the North Karanpura coalfields of the CIL’s subsidiary, Central Coalfields Limited (CCL). To achieve the completion of 4,000 MW ultra-mega thermal plant, the Centre had asked the Jharkhand government to set up a special bodycalled Jharkhand Integrated Power Limited to look after the construction of the plant in the state In September, 2007, the company was founded with its base in Jharkhand. In August 7, 2009, the company started operation as a subsidiary of Reliance Power Limited. The STPP project at Tandwa had been envisaged on a pit-head with environment friendly super-critical technology to generate power till about 35 years of life time of the plant. However, both the coal and power ministries had involved in disputes over the selected location of the STPP as the CIL made objection that the proposed project area had six billion tonnes of coal reserves underneath. Thereafter in 2008, the ministry of coal had withdrawn the STPP’s coal linkage from the CIL’s subsidiary, CCL. Later, in order to resolve the dispute, the ministry of coal constituted a sub-committee in September 2011 under the chairmanship of the Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi to look into the issue and in accordance to his recommendations, the power ministry set aside the objections raised by the coal ministry and moved a draft cabinet note seeking restoration of coal linkage for the proposed power plant of the NTPC at Chandwa.
Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) recently accorded sanction of the STPP, restoring original coal linkage to set up the STPP in Jharkhand’s Chanwa location. It may be mentioned that the foundation stone of the STPP at Chandwa was first laid way back in 1999 in an elaborate ceremony by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The then Union power minister Suresh Prabhu had also laid another foundation stone at Tandwa in September, 2001 for setting up an operations planning building to boost the mega power project.