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Likely blow for TANGEDCO as Budget 2020 proposes closure of coal-fired power plants in states

The State power corporation, TANGEDCO is in a fix with the Centre asking States to shutdown coal-fired power units that are polluting.

Published: 02nd February 2020 02:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2020 02:59 AM   |  A+A-

Mines, Coal

Image for representational purpose only. (File photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The State power corporation, TANGEDCO is in a fix with the Centre asking States to shut down coal-fired power units that are polluting. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the budget said thermal power plants emitting more than permissible limits are advised to be closed. “We propose that utilities running them would be advised to close them if their emission is above the pre-set norms.”

The Environment Ministry had extended deadline for plants to comply with new norms till 2022. Compliance with the new norms requires retrofitting existing plants with auxiliaries to control Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions like Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD). So far, TANGEDCO has made no headway in this direction. In a letter to the government, Ashok Khurana, Director General of Association of Power Producers said the installation of FGD will take about 27-30 months and warned that banks were withholding funding due to stress levels in the sector.

Experts opine that it is impossible for TANGEDCO to meet the deadline, considering these aspects. Vikram Kapur, CMD of TANGEDCO, told Express that steps are being taken to finish retrofitting of equipment before 2022. "Consultants have been appointed and Detailed Project Reports (DPR) are being prepared. All our units are compliant to the current norms, including the oldest plants in Thoothukudi."

Financial constraint

Electricity Minister P Thangamani, in a conference recently, said the estimated cost for all power stations and ongoing projects in Tamil Nadu is Rs 9,000 crores. He had requested the Ministry of Power to recommend to the Environment Ministry for an extension for at least another 5 years, besides seeking financial assistance.

Vikram Kapur agreed that funding was a problem. "Tamil Nadu has 4,300 MW of installed power units. On average, installations would require Rs 1 crore per MW of power. The minimum amount required is Rs 4,000 crore," he said. FM Sitharaman has not offered any financial assistance to retrofit the power plants in the union budget.

BUDGETARY ALLOCATION

Rs 6,422.88 crore: Increase in amount (from last year) allocated to Department of School Education & Literacy by FM. This translates to a 12.81% increase

Rs 1,480 crore: Fund allocated for National Technical Textile Mission. In the next 4 years, it is expected to help the industry in a big way

FM Nirmala Sitharaman quotes ancient Tamil literature

While Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman quoted verses from Sangam era Tamil poet Pisiranthaiyaar’s Purananooru during her budget presentation last year, on Saturday she quoted lines from saint-poet Avvaiyar’s Aathichoodi and Tamil savant Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural.

Stating that the Centre would encourage the balanced use of organic and innovative fertilizers, the Finance Minister said, “Avvaiyar, in her work Aathichoodi, said ‘Bhumi Thiruthi Unn’ (one must first till one’s land and then eat).” She later quoted lines from Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukural, which meant ‘freedom from illness, wealth, produce, happiness and protection; these five, are the ornaments of a kingdom’.



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