The power sector crisis in West Bengal has prompted RPG Group flagship CESC to revive its plans for a 660 MW thermal generation unit at Balagarh in the Hooghly district at a cost of about Rs 3,200 crore. “Clearly, there is a need to add capacity. At Balagarh, the land is already with us. However, we will require coal linkage for the project and will approach the coal ministry shortly for this. Post-clearance, it will take three years for this project to be completed,” CESC vice chairman Sanjiv Goenka said here today.
Originally conceived in the 1990s as a 500 MW generation unit at a cost of about Rs 2,000 crore, the establishment of the facility was not undertaken due to certain reasons, which Goenka was unwilling to divulge.
He, however, said that a 1,320 MW plant would now come up in two phases of 660MW each on the 800 acres that CESC is in possession of. “We have discussed this project with the chief minister and the state power minister. All technicalities have been taken into consideration,” he added. The Balagarh plant comes in addition to CESC's proposed 600MW facility at Haldia, land acquisition for which remains a problem. “We have made substantial progress but a key parcel of land is not with us yet. If things move properly, this project should be completed in another 38 months,” Goenka said.
The power major also has projects in Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand in the pipeline. Over the next four years, CESC intends to spend between 18,000-20,000 crore in the power business. “We will also look at the renewable energy sector. There is nothing specific on the plate at present, but there will be more clarity over the next few months,” he said.