As a major breather for the power starved Bihar, the state government now expects the renovation and modernisation work of its thermal power plants at Muzaffarpur and Barauni to be over by the end of this calendar year. These plants will provide at least 400 MW to the state, which is already reeling under major power crisis. According to the state government officials, the BHEL has assured that the renovation work at Kanti, Muzaffarpur (110X2) and Barauni (110X2) will be over by December, 2013. The public sector heavy engineering manufacturer has assured the state government that unit 6 of Barauni project will be operational by June and unit 7 would be online by the end of the year. According to the sources, some of the machinery for the project has already arrived at location and the dismantling work has finished. At the behest of the state government, Power Ministry and Planning Commission are also keeping a close watch on the project. On the other hand, the work on Kanti Power Plant, which is being done by NTPC, is moving on a much faster pace. Unit 1 of the project is almost ready for production. Meanwhile, the state government expects that the second unit will be operational by August 15.
These power plants would be a relief for the power starved state. "The demand of electricity in the state is more than 2,500 MW", said one of the officials of the state government, "however, the central government has allocated us only 1,800 MWs. Out of this, on an average we do not get more than 1,000-1,100 MWs. The shortage complicates the situation and sometimes creates law and order problem. Therefore, these plants being operational would be a major breather for us." The state government had prepared renovation and modernisation plan for these two plants in 2006-07 and sought funds from central government. The union government sanctioned Rs 560 crore, which turned out to be insufficient to carry out the work. Later, in 2008-09 the centre allocated an enhanced sum of Rs 1,053 crore under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) for this purpose and the work resumed. The work was expected to be over by March, 2012, but BHEL repeatedly tripped over the deadline.