Patna: Electricity-starved Bihar will get a 4,000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) and Centre will allocate sufficient number of coal blocks for it, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal announced on Saturday.
"The Centre will soon initiate the process for 4,000 MW UMPP in Bihar and allocate sufficient number of coal blocks to cater to it. We want that the electricity requirement of the state is met by production here itself," he said.
The union minister was talking to reporters here after returning from the commercial launch of the 660 MW unit IV of Barh Super Thermal Power Plant. He also inaugurated the commercial operation of the second 110 MW unit of the first phase of Kanti Thermal Power Station in Muzaffarpur district.
"This is a golden day for the people of the state as they have been deprived of electricity for several years. The two units inaugurated today will provide around 800 MW thereby helping farmers in irrigation and industrial growth," he said.
Four more 660 MW units would be set up at the Barh STPP, which will take its power production capacity to 3300 MW. These units will be completed within four years.
Goyal said the two 195 MW units at Kanti would be renovated within a year and he would try to get the approval for 132 MW hydel project at Baghmara in Supaul district.
These were part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's special attention towards the eastern states for improving their power situation, he said. "We have clear-cut instruction from the PM to extend all help to eastern states including Bihar to make them self-reliant in the power sector."
The union minister said Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi as well as senior BJP leaders Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishore Yadav had met him with a list of proposals, including uninterrupted electricity supply and the Centre assured them of all help.
"There is clear-cut instruction from the PM not to bring any politics in power sector in energy-starved eastern states like Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal." he said, adding the Deendayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna to provide uninterrupted power to farmers through dedicated feeders would be launched in Bihar soon.
At the launch ceremony at Barh, Manjhi raised the issue of slow pace of construction of houses for the poor under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and said only 2.8 lakh houses were approved against a need for 6 lakh.
To this Goyal answered that the numbers were cut down by the previous UPA government at the centre on the basis of the census figures and the NDA government is formulating a new scheme to solve the housing needs of the poor.
Manjhi also raised the demand for special status for Bihar and reimbursement of Rs 1,000 crore spent by the state government for the repair of national highways.
The union minister said the Centre is making all out efforts to help all the eastern states.