Budget 2020: Environmental norms – Death knell for Punjab plant

Union finance minister approved the death knell for Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant in Bathinda by proposing to close down plants whose emission is above the pre set norms and use land for alternative means. Punjab government has already started process to dismantling of the plant.

“There are yet, thermal power plants that are old and their carbon emission levels are high. For such power plants, we propose that utilities running them be advised to close them, if their emission is above the pre-set norms. The land so vacated can be put to alternative use,” said Sitharaman in her budget speech.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which controls the power plants in public sector in the state, had invited global expression of interest for dismantling and disposing of the two units of 220 MW. However, as only one firm evinced interest, the authorities have now invited global tenders for all the four units of the thermal plant on “as is where is basis”.

The GNDTP has four units, which were built at a cost of Rs 115 crore between 1974 and 1979. Later, Rs 694 crore was spent on the renovation and modernisation of two units (2012-2014). “The plant has over 2,000 acre land, of which nearly 1,000 acre has been used for power plant and lakes.

After disposing of the plant, the state government want to commercially exploit a part of the land. We strongly object to it as many jobs, directly or indirectly, will be lost and many employees will have to go to other places,” said thermal plant workers’ union president Gursewak Singh.

However, the decision has been hailed by environmentalists. “It is a wise step, to dismantle a coal-fired plant which causes lot of pollution. These plants are being phased out across the globe and we need power generation from renewable sources,” said an activist.

ET Energy World
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