Even as new energy minister Nitin Raut has ruled out scrapping of two new 660MW thermal units at Koradi power plant, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar wants new ones in Nashik.

A source in Mahagenco said that there are only three units in the Nashik power plant. “Only one is being run at present because the power is costlier than other power stations. There were plans for a 660MW unit but it is stuck due to the objection raised by the ministry of defense (MoD) over the height of the chimney,” he added.

 NCP supremo Sharad Pawar

Nashik minister Chhagan Bhujbal wants new units there so that locals can get jobs. He requested Mahagenco to start new ones there but did not get much response. He, therefore, contacted his boss Sharad Pawar.

The source said that Pawar recently held a meeting in this regard with the chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of Mahagenco and other senior officials.

The officials told him about the problem of chimney’s height. They also said that as the Nashik plant was far away from coal mines, the cost of its power was higher than those located in Vidarbha. “We told him that Nashik power would not be purchased under merit order dispatch (MOD),” said the source.

Pawar however, was adamant about new units. The officials, therefore, proposed that the non-operational old units would be renovated and made online. The NCP chief asked the officials to submit a report within days about all the options.

Even though Mahagenco is having difficulties in getting environmental clearance for Koradi units, it is not ready to shift them to Nashik, where locals are ready.

Local environmentalists trashed Mahagenco’s contentions that Nashik’s power would not be purchased. “Mahagenco will sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with MSEDCL, its sole consumer, and if there is a need for power then Nashik power will be consumed,” said an environmentalist.

The Mahagenco source also said that with solar power costing around Rs3 per unit, Nashik power would be costly too at over Rs4 per unit. However, this logic is true for Koradi units too.

Raut wants new units in Koradi as they will generate 5,000 jobs for locals. He, however, completely ignoring the damage to the health of people due to the increase in pollution.

(With inputs from timesofindia)