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Posted at: Feb 14, 2018, 1:56 AM; last updated: Feb 14, 2018, 1:56 AM (IST)

Engineers' body protests closure of thermal plants

Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 13

The PSEB Engineers’ Association held a zonal protest meeting in front of the head office of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) in Patiala today.

They were protesting against the closure of thermal plants in Bathinda and Ropar. More than 250 engineers participated in the protest meeting, wherein president Sanjeev Sood, senior vice-president Harjinder Singh Bansal, vice-president Rajinder Kumar Bhagat, general secretary Devinder Goyal and other office-bearers addressed the gathering.

The speakers highlighted that while the thermal plants, as told, would be closed down as per guidelines of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), these nowhere mandated the closure of reheat plants. The CEA guidelines mandate that only non-reheat plants (less than 100 MW) be closed. Further, the guidelines say that even in case of non-reheat plants, which have been renovated, these should be run for at least 10 years.

The president of the association, Sanjeev Sood, said the policy makers in Punjab had decided to close down the Bathinda thermal even when Rs 715 crore had been spent on its renovation.

The engineers alleged that while unwarranted haste is being shown in closing down the thermal plants, no action was being taken to execute the ultra supercritical thermal plant (3x800 MW), planned at Ropar. The association demanded that the closure of the Bathinda and Ropar plants be considered only after commissioning the ultra supercritical thermal plant at Ropar. It was also pointed out that the PSPCL can only save Rs 18 crore per year in case the Bathinda thermal was shut.

As per the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission tariff order, during 2017-18, Punjab will purchase 6,095 million units (MUs) from the Talwandi Sabo thermal plant at a cost of Rs 3,293 crore, 1,223 MUs from the Goindwal Sahib thermal plant at a cost of Rs 1,064 crore and 4,724 MUs from Sasan at Rs 623 crore. The state will also purchase 3,162 MUs from the Mundra plant that will cost Rs 695 crore. “So it is imperative to review the agreements signed with private thermal plants instead of closing down those in the public sector," said the engineers' body.

The association also demanded that all assistant engineers be given equal pay, starting at Rs 18,030, as given to all other employees. 

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