UP offers land for UMPP, seeks 100% power in return

Written by Deepa Jainani | Lucknow | Updated: Sep 30 2009, 05:55am hrs
The battle of one-upmanship over the setting up of an ultra mega power project (UMPP) in Bundelkhand between the Uttar Pradesh government and the UPA government at the Centre seems to have entered another round with the state government is ready to offer land to the NTPC for setting up a 4,000-mw power project in Bargad in Chitrakoot district on the condition that it gives 100% power to the state government.

The state government has initiated that the NTPC set up an UMPP project in Chitrakoot and give the entire electricity produced there to the state as we have a severe shortage of power, said Navneet Sehgal, chairman and managing director of UP Power Corporation Limited.

Speaking to FE on phone from New Delhi, power secretary Harishankar Brahma confirmed that the state government has offered them land for the project in Bargad. We have asked them to provide us adequate water for setting up the project.

On giving 100% power to the state, Brahma said that the national policy allows for up to 50% power to the state where the project is set up. We cannot change the national policy but seeing the intense gap between demand and supply of power in UP, the Centre may examine the state government's request as a special case and support it, he said.

In fact, showing interest in setting up the project in the state, the CMD of NTPC had met the state chief secretary last week and is reported to have deliberated on the issue of water availability for the project. The state government is supposed to have conveyed to the CMD that while the availability of 80-100 cusecs of water for the project is already available, the remaining 60-70 cusecs can be sourced from a reservoir that can be built on the Ken river.

It may be mentioned that the NTPC and the UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam were earlier supposed to set up a UMPP at Lalitpur district but after the souring of talks with the public sector behemoth, the Uttar Pradesh government finally decided to set up by project in the private sector and has already invited tenders for it.

In the meantime, the PMO stepped in and directed the NTPC to set up a coal-based 4,000-mw project at Bundelkhand to give a respite to the drought-hit backward region.

The issue of more power from the Central pool has always been a bone of contention between the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government. While the state government feels that it should be given more power keeping in view its burgeoning population, the Centre is of the opinion that the state government should stop looking at the Central government and should make its own arrangements to meet its demands.