Bathinda power plant to shut down from January 1

The Punjab cabinet has finally given its go-ahead to the proposed closure of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) in Bathinda from January 1 next year.
Bathinda : The Punjab cabinet has finally given its go-ahead to the proposed closure of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) in Bathinda and two units of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) in Ropar with effect from January 1 next year.
The decision in this regard was taken on Wednesday in a meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
The decision was based on the report of a sub-committee constituted to look into the matter. The sub-committee had cabinet ministers Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Badal and Rana Gurjit Singh, all of whom supported the proposal.
As per the decision, taken in line with the guidelines of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to retire inefficient and economically unviable power plants in operation for more than 25 years, all units of 460 MW GNDTP Bathinda and Units 1 & 2 (2×210 MW) of 1,260 MW GGSSTP Ropar will be shut down. The first unit of the Bathinda plant was commissioned in 1974.
Finance minister Manpreet Badal said all regular employees of these units will be adjusted within the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
He added, “Employees of the Bathinda plant will be adjusted in the nearby plant in Lehra, hardly 10 km from Bathinda. Some others will be adjusted in the field staff of PSCPL offices in Bathinda district only.”
He said, “There will be no retrenchment of contractual workers, who would be adjusted within PSPCL, Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL) and independent power producers (IPPs), namely GVK, TSPL and NPL in the same capacity, as far as possible.”
Manpreet said, “All these thermal plants have become a big burden for the state government. The cost of production of one unit of power is Rs 11.5 per unit in these plants. On the other hand, PSPCL is purchasing power at Rs 2.5 per unit from Sanan Power Project. From the closure of Bathinda plant alone, the state government would save Rs 1,300 crore each month.”
The cabinet mandated the PSPCL to explore the possibility of establishing 5×800 MW supercritical technology at Ropar in near future to further boost power generation in the state.
The cabinet also gave its approval to the proposal to provide power at Rs 5 per unit for the industry from January 1.
It is expected to burden the state exchequer with Rs 3,600 crore annually, said Manpreet, while adding that Punjab has become the third cheapest state after Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal, when it comes to provide subsidised power to industry.
The cabinet also decided to levy taxes on DTH (direct to home) and cable connections, through municipal bodies and panchayats in the state.
The tax would be collected at a monthly rate of Rs 5 per DTH connection and Rs 2 per local cable connection.
The move, according to an official spokesperson, is expected to generate an annual income of around Rs 45 crore to Rs 47 crore for urban local bodies and panchayats in the state.
Of this, Rs 9.60 crore would accrue from nearly 16 lakh DTH connections and Rs 36.96 crore on 44 lakh cable connections across the state.
However, no entertainment tax has been proposed on cinemas, multiplexes, amusement parks and other similar places providing facilities for entertainment and amusements.
-Approval to amendments in Water Supply and Sanitation Junior Engineers (Group-C) Service Rules 2006 and Amended Rules 2010, to enable the department to fill 210 vacant posts through direct recruitment.
-Nod to the Punjab Transparency & Accountability in delivery of Public Services (including electronic service delivery), Ordinance 2017. With this, the Punjab Right to Service (RTS) Act 2011, which did not provide for mandatory provision for online/digital system to receive citizens’ requests for various services and delivery thereof in a time bound manner, will cease to exist.
-Gives ex-post facto approval to extend the tenure of Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana (BPSSBY) up to March 31, 2018. The term of the scheme had expired on October 31, 2017. The government is now planning to bring a comprehensive health insurance policy for all citizens.
-It was also decided to create a Directorate of Environment and Climate Change. The move will also help strengthen the system of environmental clearances given to industries, thus bringing greater accountability into the process.
Council of ministers also decides to close two units of Roper plant; gives nod to levy of entertainment tax on DTH and cable connections.

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