The state-owned ONGC has started supplying gas to a 101 MW capacity power plant, commissioned by state-run NEEPCO, an official said. NEEPCO (North Eastern Electric Power Corporation), a mini-ratna company under the union power ministry, has set up a Rs.9.50 billion (nearly $150 million) 101 MW power plant in western Tripura's Monarchak, 70 km south of capital Agartala and just eight km from the India-Bangladesh border."We have started supplying gas experimentally to the NEEPCO power plant from late Sunday night. After testing some technical matters, the normal supply would start soon," a senior official of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) said.
He said:"The ONGC recently laid a 10-km pipeline from its gas gathering station at Khedabari (in western Tripura) to the NEEPCO power project to supply five lakh cubic metres of gas per day."
"If the supply of gas from ONGC remains satisfactory, the power project would start generation of electricity from March and the full commercial generation (101 MW) of power would start from August," the Monarchak power plant chief, S.R. Biswas, told reporters.
Biswas said that non-supply of gas by ONGC resulted in loss of Rs.5 crore a month.
Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey, who visited the NEEPCO power plant Sunday, also expressed his deep anguish over the delay in generation of power from this project.
"The foundation stone of the power project was laid in March 2002 and the state government allotted land to NEEPCO in 2003. Though more than 12 years passed, the project is yet to start generation," Dey told reporters. The plan was to be commissioned in 2005.
Designed by the US-based General Electric Company, the turbines for the plant were supplied by Bharat Heavy Electric Limited, producing 62 MW power through gas turbine and 39 MW through steam turbine.
ONGC, the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) and the Tripura government jointly floated the ONGC Tripura Power Co. Ltd. (OTPC) for setting up the Rs.10,000-crore 726 MW capacity Palatana power plant in southern Tripura.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the second unit (363 MW) of the 726 MW power project Dec 1 last year, the first unit (363 MW) was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee June 21, 2013.
The 726 MW capacity Palatana combined cycle power project is the first commercial power project of the ONGC that would utilise the huge gas reserves in Tripura.
"The gas-based Palatana power project would resolve the power crisis of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura states," OTPC's managing director Satyajit Ganguly said.
He said that Assam will get the maximum share of 240 MW of electricity, followed by Tripura (196 MW), Meghalaya (79 MW), Manipur (42 MW), Nagaland (27 MW), Mizoram (22 MW) and Arunachal Pradesh (22 MW). IL&FS and OTPC will keep 98 MW.