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ONGC to supply gas to Tripura power project

By The Assam Tribune

Agartala, March 9 (IANS): State-owned ONGC has finally agreed to supply natural gas to 101-MW capacity Monarchak power plant that is being set up by government-run NEEPCO in western Tripura, senior officials said here on Sunday.

"We would start supplying gas to Monarchak power plant from this year end. We need seven to eight months to complete the technical works to provide the gas," said Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) group general manager VP Mahawar.

He told reporters: "To supply the gas to Monarchak power project and to finalise other details, a meeting was held recently in New Delhi with the Secretary of Union Power Ministry in the presence of top ONGC and NEEPCO officials."

The state-run North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) is setting up 101 MW capacity power project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km south of Agartala, at a cost of Rs.9.50 billion (nearly $150 million). The project site is eight km from the India-Bangladesh border.

The NEEPCO officials earlier told reporters that the ONGC's repeated dilly-dallying on supplying gas has delayed the corporation's second biggest thermal power project in northeast India and resulted in huge losses.

"In view of the delayed commissioning of the environment-friendly power project, the corporation (under the union power ministry) has been incurring a loss of Rs 3.5 crore a month," NEEPCO general manager (Electrical) SR Biswas said.

"Conceived in 2000 with an installed capacity of 500 MW, the power plant's capacity was reduced to 280 MW in 2003-04 after ONGC reduced its gas allocation by half," he said.

He added the ONGC further cut the gas allocation in 2008, forcing NEEPCO to scale down the installed capacity of the project to 101 MW, whose foundation stone was laid in March 2002.

The commissioning time of the power plant has been rescheduled several times.

The ONGC has also commissioned its first mega commercial power project in southern Tripura by floating a company -- ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC).

The ONGC, in association with Rajasthan-based Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Limited, and the Tripura government would also set up a Rs 5,000 crore fertilizer plant in northern Tripura. "The process is on in full swing to set up the fertilizer project," said Mahawar, who was accompanied by senior ONGC officials.

The 726 MW capacity combined cycle gas-based thermal power project (using both water and natural gas) at Palatana, 60 km from Agartala, in southern Tripura is ONGC's first commercial power project in India.

"The generation from the first unit (363.3 MW capacity) of the power plant began Dec 31, 2013, and the generation from the second unit (363.3 MW capacity) would start in June," OTPC managing director Sudhindra Kumar Dube said. "However, there are some problems of transmission of electricity in the northeastern region from the Palatana power project. We expect these problems would be overcome soon," he told reporters.

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