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OTPC Palatana UNIT-II : Hasty inauguration of Commercial Generation of UNIT-II may lead to 2013 like loss? Is too much secrecy and alert notices to employees indicate something wrong?
Amitabha Sengupta
OTPC Palatana UNIT-II : Hasty inauguration of Commercial Generation of UNIT-II may lead to 2013 like loss? Is too much secrecy and alert notices to employees indicate something wrong?
PHOTO : CM Manik Sarkar and other Ministers, officials visiting Palatana. TIWN Pic Nov 13

AGARTALA / NEW DELHI, November 14 (TIWN): Since laying of Foundation Stone of the Rs 10,000 crore Combined Cycle Gas Turbine(CCGT) Thermal Power Plant of OTPC(726.6mw) in Palatana, it has been going through various phases of heavy loss to Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited(BHEL). But each time denying the guidelines of BHEL technical experts, both the State Govt and OTPC are doing hara-kiri and as a result BHEL has to face huge loss. In reality the recent MGNREGA scam has simply rocked the state govt and its most powerful CM Manik Sarkar, so Govt is hopeful that PM Modi’s visit and national media coverage would wipe off peoples memory of multiple scams." But the OTPC MD so far did not even make any statement regarding PM's visit to Palatana. However, it is learnt that, on Saturday, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is scheduled to visit Palatana plant to supervise the details of PM Modi's visit. By doing everything in haste OTPC and CM seems to repeat the mishap incident of 2013."

On 29th October 2005 when the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh laid the Foundation ONGC assured in presence of the Prime Minister that it will start Commercial Generation from Unit-I from 2008. But officially the Commercial Generation started from 21st June 2013 when the President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Commercial Generation from Unit-I .

During the inaugural programme President Pranab Mukharjee got emotional saying that this is ' the World's largest and India's first Green Power plant." But the President was unaware of the fact what OTPC and State Govt. were doing matchfixing by running inauguration show with the aid of generators keeping the President in complete darkness. Once again OTPC and state govt seem to repeat the 2013 like episode as the UNIT-II is not ready technically. And if it really happens, state has nothing to get from this biggest thermal power plant of the region.

Lets have a look at the serious lack of responsibilities from State Govt and OTPC:

1) The inaugural programme (21/06/2103)of the COG was made possible by installing 6 high powerful generators( learnt to be under instruction from OTPC MD S K Dube) to keep the generation going on

2) Even before the President's helicopter left the Plant area the power supply was cut off as Unit-I was not ready for COG.  Hon. President Pranab Mukherjee never knew that OTPC staged a "commercial power generation show of UNIT-I" by running the plant with 6 high powerful generators. 

3) After thirty days it was found that two Gas Booster Compressors got badly damaged due to dust particles coming out from the ONGCs 53km Gas Pipe Line.

4) After instruction from John Crane company, Korean experts fixed these problems alongwith the experts from BHEL's Hyderabad unit.

5) On 3rd August 2014 the entire plant had to go for a complete shutdown due to Major Inspection of Gas Turbine

6) Recently the Seal Oil Pump Motor of gas turbine got damaged and it had to replaced with a new one.

    But the State Govt , OTPC does not seem to learnt any lessons from it. Once again the state is pressurizing the OTPC officials to do everything in a hurry. A highly placed sources said ," Manik Sarkar is now sending those  officials to convince a senior IAS officer of the state to various issues . Issues are not at all favourable for him especially after discovery of multiple scam worth hundred of crores, specially involvement of his trusted aide BDO Bimal Chakraborty in MGNREGA scam. Manik Sarkar, being very close to this senior OTPC official is learnt to have asked him to take initiative for inauguration of Unit-II before he leaves as MD of OTPC.

     A highly placed source in Secreteriat told TIWN on Thursday night ," After all you must consider that once Prime Minister comes, local  and national media will get busy with his trip. Naturally what he did was to convince OTPC MD Dubey that it is right gesture to request the ONGC MD to take initiatives for inauguration. " Meanwhile by denying the opinions of technical experts and engineers,  S K Dube has taken up a serious gamble. He is leaving on 30th and new CMD is ready to take challenge. And when Manik Sarkar requested him, he took it as his last attempt to get international media campaign. And out of this motive the Prime Minister has been invited. " But none seems to take care that BHEL may once again suffer huge loss from Unit-II." Again political analysts say that inviting PM is part of sidelining the corruption issues on the part of state govt. And Modi too won't come without getting the confirmation of Unit-II. But for that neither Bangladesh nor India will benefit . And still govt of Tripura is saying ," Such is the situation Unit-II may repeat the 2013 incident.

     Interestingly Tripura is willing to sell 100mw power from this plant. But the Centre on its recent meeting between Power Secretaries of both Bangladesh and India ,  Joint Coordination Committee has asked to make a decision but at present the route survey report was not yet ready . How can Tripura get the right to sell 100 mW to Bangladesh? Is it indeed a fabricated show piece? If so who will bear the loss ?  OTPC? BHEL? Govt of Tripura?  

Indeed, State Govt has decided take this opportunity to shift the media and people attention from the massive corruptions issues  to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.  Other than that there is absolutely no reason to inagurate UNIT-II in a hurry which is not ready for Commercial Power Generation. 




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